My AC Drain Line Is Clogged, What Should I Do?

Heat waves and the erratic weather here in the greater Philadelphia area have certainly been putting your air conditioner to work this summer season. Your AC has a big job to do removing; humidity from your home as well as heat. With humidity high in the August months, that equals a whole lot of moisture being removed by your air conditioner. Where does it all go?

A normal running AC unit will collect the moisture in the air handler’s condensation drip pan, and then flows into a drain tube that goes outside. Like most things with age, that tube can start to become sluggish as it clogs with debris and can produce water damage.

How Do Drain Clogs Form?

Moisture gathers in the air conditioner’s air handler condensate pan. That water holds microscopic bacteria as well as small particles from the air. While it is dripping through the drain line, residue builds a mold, clusters of dust, dirt, and algae.

Also, drain lines leading outdoors can form clogs at the end. Drain lines that are in an overly dusty area could be clogged with clumps of wet dirt. To up the “gross” factor, air conditioners that have been stagnant for a while may even have insects that have taken up residence in your drain line, building nests!

What Signs Should I Look For That Indicate A Clogged Drain?

A lot of what happens when a drain line clogs up depends on your particular air handler’s features. More modern air handlers will detect when the drip pan is too full and will shut down immediately. Higher quality models (smart models) will send a text message or email when this happens. Although the system automatically shutting off may seem excessive and inconvenient at the moment it is much better than the alternative.

Air handler’s that lack that feature will not forewarn you of a problem, in which case you will not be aware of an issue until you notice water dripping out of the AC vents or ceiling.  This would indicate that the drip pan has already overflowed. You will want to turn off your air conditioner immediately before further damage occurs.

What Can I Do To Clear a Drain Line Clog?

When you are clearing a drain line the following equipment is necessary:

  • wet/dry shop vac
  • air compressor

If your air handler is located in your attic, it will require certain equipment to work up there as well, in such a tight place it may be best to leave the job up to a local professional HVAC technician who has the proper equipment and experience to perform a quick emergency repair.

To clear it yourself:

  • Begin by locating your air handler’s condensate drip pan, located at the bottom of the unit.
  • Cautiously slide the pan out to avoid spilling water.
  • Use a wet/dry vac to remove the water.
  • Remove the pan completely and wash it in hot, soapy water to remove any buildup.
  • Try clearing the drain line with suction or positive air pressure.                                        *You can try vacuuming the line from either end, but the challenge will be in creating a tight seal around the vacuum hose. Try different attachments or try wrapping a cloth around an attachment. Have someone else plug up the other end of the line.*          *You can also use an air compressor to blast air into the air handler’s end of the drain tube, to try and blow the clog out of the other end.*
  • After the drain line is clear, use a funnel to slowly pour a gallon of white vinegar through the tube. It will kill any mold and algae, and can help reduce the risk of future clogging.

Although you can certainly de-clog your AC drain yourself, it is not a job for every homeowner, however, when you are experiencing a clog you need to address it immediately. Ask the professionals at HVAC Philly, call us or contact us online today!

For more FAQ about your HVAC system, be sure to follow HVAC Philly Blog, for helpful tips and information related to AC repair, air conditioning maintenance, and services provided to the greater Philadelphia, Bucks County, PA and Montgomery County, PA areas.

If you are in the greater Philadelphia, Montgomery County,  or Bucks County, PA areas, HVAC Philly offers affordable, professional and expert HVAC services to commercial buildings and homes throughout the area. They have over 20 years experience and rated top ten HVAC companies in Philadelphia.

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Looking for a first-class HVAC service? Contact us today215-725-6111

Reduce Rising Temperatures In Your Philadelphia Home This Summer

Let’s face it, summer’s in the Philadelphia area can be downright brutal on our homes, and bodies for that matter. Our air conditioning systems are our main defense against the onslaught of heat that progressively increases throughout the day.  That is the reason you want to be vigilant in getting any AC repairs done immediately before the heat comes and is here to stay.

HVAC Philly, one of the top HVAC specialists in the greater Philadelphia area for over 20 years, suggests setting up a regular appointment for maintenance as well as following these easy steps listed below to save money and reduce heat gain in your Philadelphia home this summer.

By applying these steps you can reduce the amount of heat that gets stuck inside your home. Because the heat cannot escape it can cause your air conditioner to work overtime and with less desirable results.


Proper Window Installation

If your window is not properly insulated or installed you will lose a lot of the cool air your AC unit is working so hard to produce. This can be a huge money issue when it comes to energy costs. The more cool air that is lost, the more energy your system has to use to cool your home. Make sure there are no leaks, this can be applied to doorways as well.

Don’t Forget About Your Roof!

Dark asphalt shingles on your roof can absorb up to 90 percent of the sun’s energy. Most homes could benefit from an aluminum coating that will reflect the heat and significantly lower the heat being absorbed into your Philadelphia home.  If your decor on is on the darker side it would not be a bad idea to consider repainting it a lighter color.

Properly Insulate Your Home

Another big reason for rising temperature in the home is improper insulation. Properly insulated homes will stop heat from getting in your home and retain the cool air your AC is making.

Be Shady

Not everyone prefers lighter colors in the home. Another alternative is to create shading. Plant trees near and around your home, other vegetation, or awnings can give your home a nice shady oasis to keep out the blaring rays of the sun.

Fire Up That Outdoor Grill

Could you possibly need more of an excuse to avoid the using the stove this summer than avoiding heat gain? If you have an outdoor grill…use it…often. The less heat and appliances you have to use in the home the better it will be for your overall energy costs. And it’s fun to boot!

Contact Us

HVAC Philly provides AC maintenance, repair & replacement services to the greater Philadelphia area for over 20 years. If you would like air conditioning help or have any questions, call us at 215-725-6111 or request service online.

Advice For Air Conditioning Thermostat Installation

If you are getting your new ducted air conditioning system installed you will most likely need to decide where you will be wanting your air conditioner controller installed. HVAC Philly who serve the greater Philadelphia area, including Holland,PA and Glenside, PA, provide some helpful tips below on air conditioning controllers (Thermostats).

images (1)The first question to ask is, should you have only one air conditioning controller for your system or would it be best to have more than one? If you have a multi story home with two or more floors, it would be wise to really have more than just a single controller. With only a single air conditioner thermostat, you will be continuously going up and down the stairs to adjust the temperature and settings on the controller.  At first it may not be a big  deal but eventually it will get tiresome to manage.

It is common for most people to make the decision to put an air conditioning controller in their main living area and a second controller in their master bedroom. The controller in the main living area makes it handy during the daytime and having the controller in the master bedroom permits the homeowner to have control of the system during the night time. Some homes have the master bedroom and the living areas are on the same level, in this case you may even want to install a third controller to put on the other level.

Single story homes could also benefit from having two thermostats (one in the living area and one in the master bedroom). It is less expensive and takes less effort to have this done at time of installation rather than having to reschedule another time to have the installers come back to retrofit the second.  This is why it is important to go over these details with your HVAC professional to avoid extra cost. The cost should be no more than an extra couple hundred dollars for a second, worth the consideration.

Where exactly should you place your air conditioning controller? The best and most convenient place would be to ask the controller to be placed at your light switch height. Installing the controller near other switches and controls (like security controllers or light switches) make it easier to operate than having controllers placed throughout your living room, or master bedroom. A central location makes sense aesthetically and for convenience as well. If possible, try to place the controller in an inconspicuous location. Commonly the controller will need to go on an outside wall (or cavity wall) to be able to get the wire back up to the roof space. Be sure to speak with the electrician on the day of install as he will be able to give you the best advice as to where the controller/s can and should be located.

Keeping this advice in your mind, you should have no problems placing your main controller in a great location. Remember to try to install in an inconspicuous location. Also try to have several controller locations in mind in case the electrician cannot install the controller in your first preference.

HVAC Philly has over 20 years experience in the HVAC industry. Please visit our site or call 215-725-6111 for more information on air conditioning brands, air conditioning prices and more.