Construction Dust and Clogged Drain Lines
Clogged drain lines have always been an issue with air conditioning systems, but after Hurricane Ian, we saw a dramatic increase in drain line clogs. We have received more drain-related service calls in the last few months than we had seen all last summer. Not only has there been a significant increase in calls, but the severity of the clog is also a lot worse. We will clear a drain line and return for the same clogged drain line four weeks later.
It appears that Hurricane Ian has been the culprit for two main reasons:
The first and most apparent is construction dust. If you run your air conditioner during construction, you will have drain line issues quickly.
Most standard filters cannot remove all the dust that passes through your system. The filters that can remove smaller particles are so restrictive they are bad for your systems because insufficient air can pass through the coil. When dust does get by your filter, it sticks to the wet coil, drips into your drain pan, and ends up in your drain line. This dust can quickly calcify inside the drain line and build up until it eventually clogs.
The second reason we are finding is due to the increased dust outside. The layer of mud left behind by the flood waters dried rapidly and became airborne from the lack of rain. Who knows what is in this mud, but we can assume silica from the ocean floor, decaying vegetation, mold spores, and whatever other nasty material you can imagine.
Again, this ends up in your home, bypassing your filter and drain line. This type of drain clog is what we usually see. It tends to grow in your drain line, be more organic, and have a slimy consistency. The good news is that this is easier to clear than the construction dust-type clog.
How Can You Help Prevent Drain Line Clogs?
Several things can be done to help prevent drain line clogs, but unfortunately, nothing is foolproof.
- The best and most effective thing that somebody can do is regular maintenance with drain line clearing and filter replacement.
- We are also now recommending a chemical treatment in the drain line. This recommendation consists of capping the drain line exit, filling it with Drain Solve, letting it sit for an hour, and flushing the drain with fresh water. Using this chemical is very effective but time-consuming and is not included in a regular maintenance visit.
- The last thing we are recommending is Ultraviolet light systems for your coils. UV light helps with the organic type of clogs but not the construction debris clogs. It works by illuminating the coil and drain pan with intense UV light. The light will break down the cell walls of organic microorganisms and kill them so they can’t reproduce in your drain system.
- Another great reminder is to keep your AC off whenever construction is going on, clean or replace your filter regularly, and have regular maintenance to help with these drain problems.
As always, thanks for reading.
Todd Hayes – Sanibel Air & Electric
Sanibel Air & Electric, Inc. has been servicing homes and businesses for more than 35 years on Sanibel & Captiva and the surrounding coastal areas of Lee County.