Aug 24, 2014

Why is my AC Drain Pan Full of Water?


It’s one of the hottest days of summer. You come home from a long day at work to discover that your air conditioner isn’t working properly. You inspect your A/C unit and find that the drain pan your unit sits in is completely full of water. What do you do?

In this article, we discuss reasons why water could have pooled in your drain pan and some simple maintenance steps that you can take to prevent this issue from recurring in the future.

Why is there standing water in the drain pan?

In most cases, a full drain pan means that you have a clogged drainpipe. The humid conditions inside the refrigerant coils and pipes are the perfect breeding ground for algae and mold, which can clog the drainpipe over time. If not taken care of, a clogged drainpipe can create serious mechanical problems for the air conditioner and the first sign of that is a drain pan that is full of water.

How do I fix it?

First, turn off the power to your air conditioning unit, even if it isn’t running. With the unit turned off, check the tubing on and around your unit to make sure there are no cracks, holes, or leaks in the drain line. If you find any, these pieces should be replaced.

Once you have determined that there are no issues, the next step is to remove the water from the drain pan. The easiest way to do this is with a wet/dry shop vac, which you can pick up at your local hardware store. Simply vacuum up all of the water and dispose of it. Finally, remove any sludge or debris that may be at the drain. Check the drain termination outside for obstructions. Be sure the drain outlet is not blocked by mulch, pine straw or other debris.

The water is gone, but the source of your problem still needs to be fixed. Start by removing the PVC cap from the top of the drainpipe. Next, use a strong, small wire brush to gently clear the clog. Once the large pieces are gone, pour a mix of one cup of bleach and one cup of water into the top of the drain pipe (don’t forget your eye and hand protection). This will get rid of any additional algae, mold, or mildew that may be gumming up the works.

Once the clogs are clear, put the PVC cap back on and turn the power to your A/C unit on. If the unit does not begin to work immediately, turn it off, wait thirty minutes, and turn it back on again. If the problem persists, contact a professional.

How to Prevent Water in Your Drain Pan

Regular maintenance can easily prevent your drain pan from becoming full of water. If you live in the Raleigh or Wilmington areas of North Carolina, consider purchasing a maintenance service agreement with Newcomb and Company. The scope of our agreement will prevent this issue as well as many others.

Need help? Call now.