When an air conditioner or furnace leaks inside of a home, the typical culprits are either a rusty, cracked drain pan or a clogged condensate drain line. Below, we’ll explain more about each of these issues and what you can do to avoid water damage from your HVAC system.
The Function of the Drain Pan and Condensate Drain Line
During the heating and cooling process, your HVAC system pulls moisture out of the air. That moisture (or condensate) drips down and collects in the drain pan in your system’s indoor unit.
A pipe called the condensate drain line connects to the drain pan. The condensate drain line is typically made of PVC pipe. This pipe has the essential task of carrying away the moisture collecting in the drain pan and delivering it outdoors.
This is how drainage works in your HVAC system when everything is functioning properly. Now we’ll get into some common drainage issues that can lead to water damage.
Cracks in the Drain Pan
Drain pans are made of metal. As they age, they can start rusting due to their exposure to moisture and oxygen. Rusty metal is brittle. As it expands and contracts with temperature changes, it becomes increasingly prone to flaking and breaking apart.
Once a crack forms in a rusty drain pan, water will start to leak out into the attic, utility closet, or wherever the HVAC unit is housed. To solve this issue, shut your system off right away, dry the water immediately, and contact an HVAC technician about replacing your drain pan.
Clogged Condensate Drain Line
Clogged condensate drain lines are a common HVAC issue. Over time, the pipe can get clogged with dust, dirt, and even mold, which can form a sludgy blockage. If the clog is severe, it won’t allow water to drain fast enough. Consequently, that water will back up into the drain pan. Once the drain pan floods, water will overflow into your home.
The best way to avoid clogs in your condensate drain line is to keep up with your HVAC system’s routine maintenance. Your system should get two tune-ups a year: one in the spring for your AC and one in the fall for your furnace. Your technician will flush the line to clear out any clog-causing debris.
Overwhelmed Condensate Drain Line
In some cases, your drain line may be clear, but it may be inadequate for your system’s drainage needs. High-efficiency air conditioners and furnaces produce a lot more moisture than older, less-efficient units. Therefore, the drain line that worked for your old equipment might not keep up with your new equipment’s demands.
In this instance, you’ll need an HVAC company to help you update your condensate drain line. It may be necessary to install a condensate trap if your drain line does not already have one. A float switch is also a device we highly recommend installing, as it will automatically shut your unit off when a flood is about to occur.
At Rescue Air and Plumbing, we are fast and fair with your repair! For reliable heating and cooling solutions in the Dallas area and beyond, give us a call today at (972) 201-3253.