Essential Guide to AC Drain Pan & How to Fix it When Clogged

The AC drain pan is often overlooked compared to other parts when cleaning your air conditioner and can cause serious damage to the unit. To maintain a healthy home environment, you must clean out the drain pan as needed. Here are some tips on how to do so in case you need them.

What is an aircon drain pan?

In an aircon system, the condensate drain pan is a very crucial piece in the system. The drain pan has to be checked regularly for any leakages or cracks.

The drain pan catches the condensation that falls off the evaporator coils inside an air conditioning system. Through a pipe, the water is then directed down a drain or discharged outside.

Locating A Drain Pan for AC.

Underneath the indoor evaporator coil, you will find the overflow drain pan. Its purpose is to trap the condensate which forms when hot air passes over the cold evaporator coils.

The condensation is then directed outdoors through the PVC condensate drain pipes.

Should there be water in the AC drain pan?

Having water at the drip pan is a normal thing since its role is to collect water droplets. However, water should easily flow and not overflow, build up or even settle at the drip pan.

Different systems have different setups. For example, a central system with a DX coil will have droplets of water on it that get drained out through the drain pipes. A secondary drain pan is also present but doesn’t have water droplets unless the primary pan is faulty.

Window air conditioners are generally designed to evaporate any water in the pan quickly. In case of high humidity, the window conditioner is designed for dripping out the back quickly.

For a portable air conditioner, the pan needs to be manually emptied. Other portable air conditioners have hose pipes that are plumbed at different locations to help with the draining process.

Lower humidity leads to low levels of condensation.

Why does my AC drain pan keep filling up?

One of the most common reasons for stagnating water on the drainpipe is a clogged drainpipe.

The air that flows across cools down and loses its humidity as it passes the evaporator coils in the air conditioner. The humidity is left behind as a form of condensation on the evaporator coils. Through the system drain line, the condensation drips off to the drain and exists in the system.

Dust and dirt are also left behind on the evaporator coil. This shows that water is not the only cause of problems in the system. The dirt and dust come from the air that blows over the coils.

The dirt and dust move down the drainpipe resulting in a clog.

Another cause of clogging water is an air conditioner that was wrongly installed hence wrong angle alignments. To avoid this, the company has qualified and trained technicians to correctly install the system for you.

The drain outlets should always be on the lower side for water to easily flow towards it. Water will always stagnate instead of draining if the outlet is on the opposite side.

Traces of moisture in the drainpipe are also caused by a frozen evaporator coil which tends to drip water on the drain pan.

If the refrigerant levels are low, there are very high chances of the evaporator coil freezing.

Low refrigerant levels are a sign of a refrigerant leak in the AC system.

Technicians in our team can quickly identify the leaks and rectify the system.

How To Fix The AC Drain Pan?

In case of leakage in the drain pan, epoxy glue should be used to plug the crack causing the water leakage.

In the case of a significant leakage, it is recommended to replace the whole drain pan. However, this will cost more but much more effective than regularly replacing parts in the system, which will later cause a total breakdown of the AC.

The most common cause of a drain pan full of water in an air conditioner is a clogged drainpipe. It is simple and easy to unclog the drainpipe, and you can do it yourself as long as you have the right tools.

Quick steps to unclog the drainpipe:

  1. Switch off the power supply to the AC.
  2. Inspect the tubes on the unit and ensure there are no cracks, leaks, or other problems in the drainpipe.
  3. In case of a defect in the drain line, the faulty parts of the drain line should be replaced with a new one.
  4. Remove any collected water in the drain pan.
  5. After all the residues and water have been removed, you can safely unclog the system.
  6. Slowly remove the PVC cap and unclog using a wire brush.
  7. Adding a little bleach into the pipe is recommended as it helps get rid of mould or algae, which also play a major role in the clogging of the system.
  8. After replacing the PVC cap, you can now test your air conditioner.

Related article:  How to clean a clogged drain line

Key Take-Aways

We hope you find this guide helpful in understanding what an AC drain pan is and how to keep it clean. If your air conditioner is constantly filling up with water, be sure to contact us so we can make sure the clog has been cleared from your drain pan before it burst!

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