How to Inspect an AC Drain Pan



How to Inspect an AC Drain Pan

As warm air passes over the evaporator coils in your AC, water droplets form and drip into the condensate pan located beneath the evaporator coils. This condensate then flows out through the condensate drain line. However, problems can arise when the drain pan or drain line is clogged or damaged. Your AC may turn itself off, or your property may suffer water damage as condensation accumulates underneath the AC. To prevent these problems, Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing, the best HVAC company in Sacramento, recommends that you inspect the AC drain pan frequently, as explained below.

Step 1: Turn On the AC

It is advisable to start your inspection exercise by turning the AC on for about half an hour. This is ample time for the system to work and generate a sufficient amount of condensate to reveal any anomalies in the condensate drainage system.

Folsom AC service techs recommend that you observe the area around the indoor unit of your air conditioner. If you don’t see any moisture, chances are the drain pan, and drain line is working as they should. All the same, you need to proceed with the next steps outlined below, just to perform a thorough inspection.

Step 2: Turn the AC Power Off and Remove the Access Panel

Experts at Gilmore Heating and Air strongly recommend that you turn the power to the HVAC system off so that you reduce the risk of electrical accidents occurring while you check the drain pan.

Once you have unplugged the AC, remove the access panel so that you can see the drain pan situated inside the air handler.

Note that air conditioners usually have two drain pans. One is permanently affixed to the air handler, and it is located higher up from the auxiliary one that is easy to remove. Residential AC company in Placerville recommend that you restrict your DIY efforts to the auxiliary drain pan and let an experienced professional remove and replace the permanent drain pan since you may make a mistake that could cause bigger problems in your AC.

Step 3: Inspect the Drain Pan and Line

Residential AC maintenance personnel suggest that you use a flashlight to take a close look at the drain pan and the drain line leading away from it. See whether you can spot any visible debris or accumulations, or even damage to the drain pan.

If water is backing up in the drain pan, there could be a blockage in the drain line. Clean out any debris that you see in the drain pan and in the opening of the drain line.

Step 4: Test the Drain Mechanism

Pour a continuous stream of water into the drain pan and observe how effectively that water drains away through the drain line. If it is sluggish or backs up, Tureks Plumbing Services, a Fox Valley Plumbing company, suggests that you may have a clog or blockage in the drain line.

Step 5: Repair Minor Damage to the Drain Pan

If you notice that the drain pan is leaking, use epoxy glue to plug that small crack responsible for the leak. However, if the leak is large, Folsom AC service professionals recommend that it is a lot better to replace that damaged drain pan.

Replacing the drain pan is best left to professionals. Contact Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing for expert help, especially if the permanent drain pan has a leak.

Step 6: Clean the Condensate Drain Line

Gilmore HVAC experts recommend that you clean the condensate drain line regularly in order to prevent dirt and debris from building up inside it.

Use a stiff brush to gently clean inside the drain line and remove any debris inside. You can then pour a cup of vinegar down the drain line so that any microbial growths (mold and algae, for example) can be killed before clogs develop.

In the summer, pour bleach down the condensate drain line as a way of keeping it clean. Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing only recommends using bleach during the summer because the constant use of the AC will generate ample quantities of condensate to wash out the bleach before it damages the drain line.

Step 7: Restore the Access Panel

Once you are satisfied with the work done in cleaning the drain line or fixing any damage to the auxiliary drain pan, restore the access panel to its position so that the air handler isn’t exposed. When everything is back in its place, residential AC maintenance personnel recommend that you power up the system and observe whether it is working well, and no condensation is accumulating beneath the air handler. If everything is as it should be, congrats!

The drain pan and drain line aren’t the only components that need regular maintenance and inspection in your HVAC system. In fact, the drain pan and drain line will have a reduced chance of developing defects if the entire HVAC system is serviced by a professional. If you haven’t had your AC system checked by a professional in a while, contact Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing for a residential ac tune-up. Our experienced technicians will conduct a thorough inspection and tune-up the system so that it is back to working reliably and efficiently. Give us a call today and learn about our Sacramento AC service plans.