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How to Clear a Drip Line or Condensate Line

March 21st, 2017

If you’ve ever noticed a leak or pool of water dripping from the base of HVAC or furnace unit, you’ve probably worried about roof leaks or burst pipes.  But the issue may not be that bad, as your unit itself simply have a clogged drain line.  Condensation can build up inside your forced air system, leading to a slow leak.  Don’t worry, this condensation is normal and all HVACs and furnaces have equipment to handle the condensation buildup, unfortunately, these drain lines can become clogged over time, leading to spillage.

Where to Look

It’s incredibly difficult to find the source of a drip or leak initially, but if you’re only noticing water coming from near your unit while it’s running or when it isn’t raining, it’s likely to be the source.  Most units will have a drip or drain pan underneath to help deal with overflow.  In many cases, drips are so minor that the water evaporates faster than it pools and the air in your home is usually dry enough to speed this process along.  Check this pan and if water is pooling or splashing out of the pan itself, then it’s time to clear out the condensate line.

Typically a condensate line can become clogged from dust buildup internally.  To resolve this, all you need is a shop vac.

  1. Connect the suction hose to your unit’s condensate line (found outside near your external unit) You can do this using a special attachment you need to purchase, or simply seal off the end with tape.
  2. Run the shop-vac until water is flowing into the storage canister.
  3. Remove the connection.
  4. Add a small amount of boiling water to the drain line to kill off bacteria and cap the drain line once more.

If the clog is stubborn enough not to clear, consult a professional and consider getting a slime-proof fitting that can help to prevent future clogs.

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