Your air conditioner naturally produces water during operation through a process known as condensation. You can see condensation in action: fill a glass with ice water and notice how within just a few minutes moisture starts to accumulate on the outside of the glass. This happens due to the cool temperature of the glass causing water vapor in the air to change states back into liquid form. The more air that passes by the glass, the more water condensation is created. Eventually, the condensation levels will be so great that you’ll start getting water droplets rolling down your glass and leaving rings of water on your table.
The same thing happens when you run your air conditioner: as air is forced over your extremely-cold coil, the water vapor in the air quickly turns to liquid form again, creating large amounts of condensation that then drips out of your air conditioner, making it appear as though your system is leaking water. This is perfectly normal.
This water normally leaves your home through a condensation drain line, which is a small pipe that runs from your air conditioner or the drain pan itself out through your walls and away from your home so the water is released in a location that’s safe and won’t damage your foundation. However, over time this line can become clogged, leading to water backups in your drain pan. If one of these backups gets too large, water could start overflowing in the drain pan, leading to drywall or structural damage, water stains, and more.
Unclogging Your Drain Line
A clog can happen for a number of different reasons, but the simplest and most common reason for a clog is that residue and debris from years of use has simply accumulated in your condensation drain line. This prevents the water from flowing away and forces it to simply build up and accumulate in your drain pan. The more you run your air conditioner, the worse the problem will get, and you’d be surprised just how quickly it can build up.
So what can you do to fix this issue?
- In most cases, if the clog is located just a few inches down from where your drain line starts, you could use a thin, rigid piece of metal to dislodge the clog and get your pipe flowing properly again. If you want to try doing it at home, an unwound coat hanger or very small, thin plumbing snake should do the job perfectly well.
- However, if the clog is further down your line, you may have to try an alternative method. Find where your drain line exit is outside your home, which is usually located near a planter or garden where the land can absorb the water. Using a garden hose, force water back up the line and see if you can get it to dislodge the clog. If that doesn’t work then you may want to try using the small snake or coat hanger once again to see if you can reach the clog to dislodge it.
- Finally, if none of these options work, you should contact a Richmond heating and cooling professional. M.A. Williams is uniquely qualified to handle these types of repairs because we not only have the skill and tools to fix your heating and cooling system, but we also specialize in drain cleaning and plumbing! Whether you need your drain line replaced completely or have a stubborn clog that requires professional help, we can get the job done.