We can only imagine that condensate drain lines are not high on the average homeowner’s list of concerns, but there are some drawbacks of poor planning and design as well as negative effects of neglect and corrosion to consider. At Comfort Control, one of the Service Pledges of our Maintenance Agreement list is to inspect the condensate drain line and clear out any obstructions. Otherwise, our customers could discover algae and mold growth, or even face expensive water damage to their home.
When the average homeowner ponders the ins and outs of the heating and cooling system they have installed or are planning on having installed in their home, they probably think of machinery like perhaps fan motors and an unseen network of ducts, and some may even be familiar with the compressor and condenser coils. Sometimes, however, issues arise from much simpler components in the system, those that do not comprise a lot of moving parts.
Condensation results from the air conditioner evaporator coils’ normal functioning, and must be drained off of the system to a suitable disposal site. Some of the industry standard discharge locations include: above the flood rim of a laundry tub, into the drain plumbing of a kitchen or bathroom sink, and into the overflow pipe of a bathtub. Unfortunately, there have been cases of condensate drain lines connected to plumbing vent that leads directly to the home’s sewage system – with the attendant risk of possible bacterial contamination or methane backflow into the air conditioning system. It is also all too common to channel the condensate to a dirt crawl space under the building or onto the ground outside. In some cases, however, the steady dripping of water does not just dissipate or evaporate harmlessly, but over time presents one of two worrisome outcomes: either it nurtures a mat of algae, mold and bacteria blooming close enough to pose a health risk, or it causes soil subsidence around the foundation of the home, and begins eroding the concrete of the foundation itself.
Far from being a trivial matter, the location and manner of disposal of condensate from the HVAC system requires the careful experience, planning, foresight and installation expertise that only professionals can provide.