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ac unitIf your A/C’s condensate drain malfunctions, you’ll know about it, but probably later rather than sooner. The evaporator coil in a typical central air conditioner produces over 20 gallons of condensation per day in Florida’s humidity. If that liquid flows anywhere but down the A/C’s condensate drain system, water damage will likely result.

Other condensate drain issues also afflict central air conditioners. Due to the out-of-the-way location of the indoor air handler, however, these events go unnoticed by residents until damage or contamination is a done deal.

Mold and Algae

In the warm, wet environment of the condensate drain pan, mold and algae flourish. In addition to clogging condensate drain lines with gooey slime, toxic mold spores growing in the pan are well-positioned to spread into ductwork. A cup of bleach in the drain pan twice during the cooling season may prevent nascent mold growth.

If active mold is evident, an HVAC service technician can disinfect the entire system and add biocide tablets to prevent mold growth.

Sewer Gas Infiltration

Water inside the U-shaped PVC trap in the condensate drain line prevents noxious gas in the sewer pipe from seeping up the line and into the air handler. However, if the trap dries out over the winter, gas may pervade the air handler and disperse throughout the home, too. Replenish the trap during the off season by pouring a gallon of water into the pan.


By the time an A/C’s condensate drain pan overflow becomes obvious, water damage is usually a done deal. Regular maintenance included in an annual air conditioner tuneup by an HVAC contractor helps prevent clogs that cause these events. For early warning that can’t be ignored, your contractor can also install an overflow sensor that powers down the A/C if the pan fills up.

Learn more about the issues affecting your A/C’s condensate drain, as well as Senica Air Conditioning, Inc.’s A/C solutions, or call 866-881-5935.

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