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  Ounce of Prevention Back to Main
  Keep Your Air Conditioning System From Getting a Summer "Head Cold"
© 2002

The end of summer is near. The kids are back in school.  But outside temperatures continue into the 90's with no end in sight. Which means your air conditioning system is working overtime trying to keep things cool and dry inside your home... making your poor A/C susceptible to catching a summer "head cold."

The Symptoms
Just as our sinuses clog up with a summer cold, your A/C system clogs up due to a thick mucous-like algae that grows inside the condensate drainage lines.  

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE First you notice soggy carpets near the utility closet...  


Then you open the closet door to see water leaking out of the air handler unit of your air conditioning system.  
So you rush for the phone and call a local air conditioning service and you wait all day for the service rep to clean out your drain line in a manner of minutes (thanks to a bottle of compressed air).

And you end up paying $50.00 (or more) for the lesson.

As your air conditioner whirrs back to life and the repairman shoves your fifty bucks deep into his pocket, you realize that you probably could (and should) have tried to clear the condensate drain line by yourself.

When it happens again (and it will) 

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE If the truth be told, unless the condensate drain line is really clogged, all it takes is some good old-fashioned lung power to blow the hose clear.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE Just remember to stand clear of the exhaust end of the condensate drain to avoid an unwanted surprise.  (Warning: this job is not for the weak of stomach). 

Ounce of Prevention
Once you've cleared the drain line, you still need to make sure that the condensate drip pan is clean.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE The drip pan is located inside the air handler cabinet just beneath the evaporator coils.  The photo to the left reveals that the pan is located at the connection to the drain line.  
Once the cabinet face is removed, clean out the pan - especially around the pass-through connection that attaches to the hose.  A small amount of watered bleach (one or two "shot-glasses" full poured inside the pan and into the drain line will go a long way toward killing the fungus that clogged the drain to begin with. 

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