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Old 06-12-2020, 11:08 AM   #1
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frequent condensate drain line clogs


Is there an explanation for so much line clogging and in some instances the exorbitant amount of repair damage that can be associated with it? I know of one that was a fairly new unit and the explanation was that it was a up flow unit creating a vacuum on the drain line.



But then there are those that seem to frequently clog with dirt and algae snot etc. How is all this undesirable crap getting in that line? I guess i'm fortunate or the pro that installed ours knows his business real well. In the 37 years of operation 0.0 drain line clogs.

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Old 06-12-2020, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


It just grows in there. Room air is pulled across the coils, crap collects when filters are not serviced regularly. Contaminants drip down and a slow drain allows them to grow.
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Old 06-12-2020, 12:43 PM   #3
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


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Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post
It just grows in there. Room air is pulled across the coils, crap collects when filters are not serviced regularly. Contaminants drip down and a slow drain allows them to grow.
So this seems to be related to the filter systems that allow all of this dirt/dust to pass to the blower and coil?
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Old 06-12-2020, 12:44 PM   #4
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


It has to form from the room air and conditions in the drain pan or line.

We have no pets or house plants (just sayin' not blamin') but we do often have very humid summer days here in southern Ilinois and cold winters. We've been running a/c's since 1964 and have never had a plugged condensate drain. Looking down into it always seems like the water trickling down would be good enough to drink.

There is a possibility that living in a less humid area may make drain line algae more likely to form since the drain isn't flushed as much as it would be in a more humid climate.

We had a pool for 36 years while in SoCal and I learned right away that letting algae get ahead of you requires a shock treatment to get it back under control. Super chlorinating the system is the process used for pools but since a condensate drain isn't a looped system, another method is required.

If the problem can't be brought under control by periodically flushing some bleach down the the drain, you'll need to gain access to the evaporator drain pan and clean it as well.

I suspect that in areas where a/c is used at times all year long but heat is never or rarely needed might be more conducive to algae growth in the coil drain pan. The logic being that the pan rarely gets dried out and the water is fairly dormant unless you have extra high humidity.
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Old 06-12-2020, 02:04 PM   #5
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


In our FL house the condensate line goes 60 feet under the house to discharge on the other side of the house from the air handler. I think that is stupid because it could go 4 feet and out an exterior wall, but that is how it is built. Every year it gets vacuumed out and there is snotty slimy crap in it. If it ever plugs, I will use the short drain route through the wall.
Have you hooked up a shop vac to it to suck it out?
Our FL unit has a float switch on the condensate line, so if the line plugs up the float switch will shut the unit off and not let it flood. FL is the humidity capital of the world. In NY, float switches are not used.

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Old 06-12-2020, 03:24 PM   #6
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


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In our FL house the condensate line goes 60 feet under the house to discharge on the other side of the house from the air handler. I think that is stupid because it could go 4 feet and out an exterior wall, but that is how it is built. Every year it gets vacuumed out and there is snotty slimy crap in it. If it ever plugs, I will use the short drain route through the wall.
Have you hooked up a shop vac to it to suck it out?
Our FL unit has a float switch on the condensate line, so if the line plugs up the float switch will shut the unit off and not let it flood. FL is the humidity capital of the world. In NY, float switches are not used.
Pig it.






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Last edited by SeniorSitizen; 06-12-2020 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 06-12-2020, 03:27 PM   #7
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


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Originally Posted by SeniorSitizen View Post
So this seems to be related to the filter systems that allow all of this dirt/dust to pass to the blower and coil?



That is an opinion with no factual basis.
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Old 06-12-2020, 03:48 PM   #8
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


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Pig it.
That could work with the right type of pig. I use one cut from foam rubber to clean my CPAP hose... works like a champ!

I also got involved with running the pig with SOHIO pipe line at one point in my younger days.
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Old 06-12-2020, 08:28 PM   #9
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


Stopped up drain is one of the most common service calls we get.


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Old 06-12-2020, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: frequent condensate drain line clogs


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Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post
That is an opinion with no factual basis.
Will there never be factual basis? I'm surprised there's never been a study of why this happens so frequently.




EDIT: EDIT:
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