3 Symptoms of Clogged AC Condensate Drains

It's crucial to understand that your air conditioner doesn't just remove humidity as a feature but as a core part of its operation. As long as your compressor is running and functioning correctly, moisture will condense onto the evaporator coils. Your system must remove this water to work correctly. Below you'll find three symptoms that indicate your condensate drain is clogged and needs attention from AC repair companies.

1. Musty, Moldy Odors

Your compressor normally operates in relatively short cycles of 15 or 30 minutes. While your compressor runs, moisture will condense onto the evaporator coils. When the compressor shuts off, that water can then drip away into your condensate drain line. A clogged condensate line can increase the level of humidity around your evaporator, causing moisture to remain on the coils.

One of the earliest symptoms you are likely to experience in this situation is a musty or moldy odor. Unsurprisingly, this smell results from mold forming in the moist conditions around the evaporator or your ductwork. Moldy AC odors typically indicate that something has gone wrong at your evaporator, so you should never ignore them.

2. Warm, Stale Air

Air conditioning evaporators always remove the same amount of heat from the air, no matter where your thermostat setpoint happens to be. The temperature in your home can vary based on how long the system runs, but warmer air from your vents is usually a sign of trouble. Often, warm air indicates that something has prevented your refrigerant from absorbing as much heat as it should.

Anything that allows excess moisture to remain on your coils can ultimately cause the coils to freeze. When ice forms on your evaporator coils, it insulates them and prevents the refrigerant from absorbing heat as it passes through the evaporator. Frozen evaporator coils can overheat and overwork your compressor, so failing to address this issue can lead to costly repairs.

3. Flooding

Ignoring a clogged condensate line can ultimately result in flooding near your indoor air conditioning equipment. Your evaporator and blower unit housing is not waterproof, so overflowing condensate can leak onto the surrounding area. A clogged condensate line will often cause your system to shut down before the problem becomes this severe, but this won't always be the case.

Repairing a clogged condensate line is a relatively straightforward procedure, but you may need professional help if the clog is particularly severe or hard to locate. Since an inability to clear moisture from the system can lead to much more expensive problems, it's crucial never to ignore the symptoms of a clogged condensate drain.