One of the ways a central air conditioner cools your house is by pulling humidity out of the air. When warm air is blown over the coils in the air handler, condensation forms inside the HVAC and drips down into a collection pan. From the pan, the water flows into a drain and out of your home. It's important to keep up with maintenance of the pan and air conditioner condensate drain or problems can occur. Here are some maintenance tips for keeping these problems at bay.

Check The Pan When You Change The Filter

Since you'll be changing or washing the filter on a regular basis, you can use the time to check the drain pan under the air handler. The pan might be in a drawer under the unit. If you see water in the pan or on the floor, it could be a sign the drain line is clogged. Give the pan a jostle in case water is collected at the back of the pan. If it is, it's a sign the pan isn't level and the situation should be fixed or the pan may overflow.

This may seem like a mundane maintenance chore, but it is very important. If the drain pan overflows all summer, extensive water damage could be done to your floor and mold may grow. If you find water in the pan, remove it with a wet vac and see if you can clear the clog in the drain. If you're not comfortable trying to clear the drain, then call an HVAC contractor for help. Just remember to disconnect the power source before you do any HVAC maintenance, even if you aren't touching internal parts or wires.

Clear Out Clogs

If you have a wet vac, you might be able to force a clog through the drain line and clear it. Find the end of the drain that's located outside your house. Attach the end of the wet vac to the pipe and turn it on to pull out the clog. The hose on the wet vac won't be an exact fit, so you may need to use duct tape or wrap a cloth around the pipe to get a good seal. See if the drain cleared by having someone pour water into the drain inside while you watch for the water to pour out of the drain outside. If you can't clear the drain easily, then let a contractor use a pump, vacuum, or tool to clear the drain.

Clean The Condensate Drain

One problem that can develop with a condensate drain is the growth of mold. That's because the drain has a constant supply of water and the area stays damp and warm. Kill the mold by pouring bleach into the drain at the start and end of the cooling season or when you notice a moldy odor around the HVAC. This holds down the growth of mold and keeps it from forming clogs in the drain line.

Your HVAC contractor. such as from Barnetts Heating & Air Conditioning, may handle these maintenance tasks when doing seasonal maintenance on your system. However, you'll still want to keep an eye out for water overflowing from the pan so you can prevent expensive water damage to your home.