Why is My AC Drip Pan Full of Water?
As a homeowner, you know finding water somewhere it’s not supposed to be is usually a bad sign. However, when it comes to your air conditioner’s drip pan, also known as the drain pan, the presence of water is perfectly normal… but only if it’s flowing out of the pan.
If you ever find your drip pan full of stagnant water, it usually means your drainpipe is clogged. When not taken care of promptly, a clogged drainpipe can cause serious mechanical problems for your air conditioner. Fortunately, the issue is usually an easy fix. Here’s more about what causes drip pans to fill with water and what you can do to fix it.
What Does a Drip Pan Do?
Before getting into why drip pans fill with water, it’s important to understand the role a drip pan plays within your air conditioner. Your air conditioning system contains a drainpipe, which removes excess water from the evaporator coils. Before reaching the drainpipe, this water drips into a drain pan. It then flows through the drainpipe, out of your home. So, essentially, your drip pan serves as a reservoir that carries water from the evaporator coil to the drainpipe. If it fails, the water will not be able to drain properly.
What Causes Drip Pans to Fill With Water?
The most common thing that causes drip pans to fill is a clog in the drainpipe. If something is blocking water from flowing through the drainpipe, it will back up into the drip pan. Due to moist conditions, algae and bacteria can easily clog a drainpipe. If too much builds up, a clog may occur. An overflowing drip pan could potentially damage other parts of your air conditioner.
What Should I Do About a Clogged Drain Pipe?
While a professional AC technician will be glad to help, a clogged drainpipe can usually be fixed without professional help. If you feel comfortable giving it a shot, follow these steps.
1. Turn off the AC unit.
2. Empty the drain pan using a wet/dry shop vac (you may use another method, but this is the easiest way).
3. Remove and debris from the drain and surrounding area. Check the end of the drainpipe, which is located outside your home, to see if anything is blocking it. Make sure it’s all clear.
4. Remove the cap from the top of the drainpipe and use a small, yet sturdy wire brush to clear the blockage.
5. When the pipe appears clear, pour a cup of bleach into the drip pan and top of the drainpipe. This will help remove any algae or other growth you might have missed and prevent it from growing back anytime soon.
6. Replace the cap and turn your air conditioner back on. If the problem continues, contact a professional AC technician.
Preventative Maintenance Can Help Prevent Clogs!
Instead of coming home to an inconvenient surprise, schedule a preventative maintenance visit with Sea Coast Air Conditioning today! In addition to making sure your drainpipe is clear, we’ll inspect each part of your air conditioner to make sure everything is running smoothly and is properly tuned. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!