How to Clean Out Your Air Conditioner's Condensate Line

102 Comments Read/write comments

air conditioner condensate line clog

Your air conditioner does two jobs: It cools down the air and it dehumidifies the air. If you live in a dry climate, you want the AC to dehumidify as little as possible because it uses extra energy and makes you spend more on lip balm and hand lotion. If you live in a humid climate, you really want it to do that second job as well as it can to keep your indoor air dry and comfortable. But where does all that condensate go?

In most homes, it goes outdoors through a pipe, like the one above. Sometimes there's a little pump that pumps it out, but most often it drains by gravity alone. Occasionally that condensate line gets clogged. This happened at my condo last week. (We live in Atlanta, Georgia, a mixed-humid climate.) Gunk in the pipe built up to the point where it was barely draining. We could run the AC for a little while and then we'd have to turn it off again.

This past weekend I tackled the problem. One of the best ways to do so is with good old air pressure. If you can close off all escape routes except the one in the direction of the clog, you can shoot positive pressure into the pipe near where the indoor unit is located. That should blow the clog out the other end. In our case, that wasn't an option because our condensate line is connected to our upstairs neighbor's air conditioner, too.

So I got out my little wet-dry shop vac and set it up to suck the gunk out at the end of the pipe. The photo below shows the setup.

air conditioner condensate line clean wet dry vacuum

I was hoping to avoid a trip to the hardware store, so I used red duct tape to try to make an airtight connection between the shop vac hose and the condensate line. It didn't work.

air conditioner condensate line clean airtight connection

I took the shop vac hose with me to the store and bought some fittings in the plumbing department. I hooked it all up (photo above) and got a nice, airtight connection this time. With the taped connection, I got maybe half a cup of water out of the pipe. With the airtight connection, I got the bucket full of crud you see below.

air conditioner condensate line sludge

If you really want to see how bad it was, watch the short video below and you can see my wife pouring it out.

Yes, all that gunk was in our condensate line. One problem with condensate lines is that algae can grow in them. In our case, there's also a lot of sediment in that bucket, possibly from a corroded evaporator coil. We replaced our AC in 2009 and the condensate line hasn't been cleaned since then, so some of that crud could have been from our old unit.

If you haven't thought about your condensate line lately (or ever), this would be a good time to do so. You can have your HVAC company make sure it's clean, or you can get a shop vac and do it yourself. To keep it clear, you can use an algaecide that's safe for air conditioners. Your HVAC company can recommend one for you. In hot-humid climates like Florida especially, clogged condensate lines are a frequent problem.

A little preventive maintenance now could save you thousands of dollars in water damage repairs and the loss of your air conditioner when the heat really cranks up.

 

Related Articles

This Thermostat Setting Can Cost You Money and Make You Sick

Have You Seen What's in Your Hotel Room Air Conditioner?

An Interesting Way To Freeze Your Air Conditioner Coil

 

NOTE: Comments are moderated. Your comment will not appear below until approved.

Comments

Bob Lemley

Try a couple of unions and check the trap you have against the description in the install manual, (they did leave that with you didn't they? it's yours), see if it the proper size and depth. Put service unions on both sides. That way that problem child can easily be removed and cleaned, When maintenance is done have them use an Algaecide CARTRIDGE, nt tablets in your drain pan. Get one for your neighbor too if your going to be tied to the same drain. The slowly feed throughout the season rather than tablets that are gone in a couple days.&nbsp; <br />Vacuuming out is the better way, in my opinion, to clear condensate drains. Then you can get a better look at what is clogging the drain. &nbsp; <br />"Bellies" in condensate drains are a big problem with horizontal runs.

Ray Austin

Allison I think you live in California? I am surprised to see this type of condensate set up there. While I do see some of these type of condensate set ups here in Katy, Texas area it's only in very old sections because codes were passed to not run condensate to the out doors probably due to all the bacteria that typically forms in that water. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Building Code: key words for it's going to cost you more. But it's more than that, because codes are there to keep things nice and neat too. Do you really want nasty bacteria laden water spewing out the side of your house? Every time you mow the yard you deposit some of that lovely stuff on the bottom of your shoe. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Needless to say if you live in a newer home you likely wouldn't find a condensate set up like this and if you notice ANY dripping from a tube over head from the eave of your house it is a signal you have a condensate problem that could lead to a ceiling cave in, water damage, mold growth, HVAC system damages such as shorting out of motors, circuit boards etc. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Many times these drains are quite complex because over the years in my area they have made various changes to how they run these AC condensate lines. While the home owner can use bleach to "TREAT" the drain, you must know where to pour it otherwise you risk damage to your system. Bleach is very corrosive and will damage your system if not used properly and in the proper place. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />If the drain line is clogged do not pour anything into it, because you will likely only add charges to the job when you find out what you are trying to do doesn't work and decide to seek the help of a professional. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Today, if you run AC condensate to the out doors in Katy, Texas area the proper way is to drain this as waste water. You should not drain this water just anywhere. Your health, your pets health and your families health depends on it. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Air Conditioning isn't about how much you spend... it's about how much you waste. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Unnecessary medical bills, equipment damages, mold growth, pet bills, water damage to your home. (Hire a LICENSED pro.)&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Proper AC condensate drainage is serious business, much more serious than you might think. &nbsp; <br />

M.Johnson

My AC technician told me we should pour a cup or so of Clorox into a fitting in the condensate line, up near the coil. Does your equipment have any such fitting, and what do you think of it?

Richard Parker

Hopefully that was not your emergency overfill line rather than the normal condensate line. Coils have two, sometimes the second is not plumbed but it should be. Often the primary line is connected to the house's drain with the secondary exposed like your's or both pipes are run outside directly.

Bill Hill

That's my kind of problem solving! Thanks, Allison, for the post with the, as always, clear description and photos.

Curt Kinder

NO Bleach!&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Consider that pool water heat exchangers designed to deal with just a few parts per million chlorine, are generally made of titanium, and bleach has 82500 ppm Chlorine, and air handlers aren't made of Titanium, just the fumes from bleach pose a risk.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Many HVAC system replacements arise from unrepairable air handler coil refrigerant leaks.

Tom Frymire

I agree with commentator Roy Austin on several points. Especially his caution on the use of bleach - it is a VOC and should not be poured into the condensate. Not only is it an irritant and a health hazard but it can also corrode the fins on evaporator coils. The HVAC manufacturers do not recommend the use of bleach and other caustic chemicals due to fears of formicary corrosion.

Bob Lemley

Try a couple of unions and check the trap you have against the description in the install manual, (they did leave that with you didn't they? it's yours), see if it the proper size and depth. Put service unions on both sides. That way that problem child can easily be removed and cleaned, When maintenance is done have them use an Algaecide CARTRIDGE, nt tablets in your drain pan. Get one for your neighbor too if your going to be tied to the same drain. The slowly feed throughout the season rather than tablets that are gone in a couple days. 
Vacuuming out is the better way, in my opinion, to clear condensate drains. Then you can get a better look at what is clogging the drain.  
"Bellies" in condensate drains are a big problem with horizontal runs.

Ray Austin

Allison I think you live in California? I am surprised to see this type of condensate set up there. While I do see some of these type of condensate set ups here in Katy, Texas area it's only in very old sections because codes were passed to not run condensate to the out doors probably due to all the bacteria that typically forms in that water.  
 
Building Code: key words for it's going to cost you more. But it's more than that, because codes are there to keep things nice and neat too. Do you really want nasty bacteria laden water spewing out the side of your house? Every time you mow the yard you deposit some of that lovely stuff on the bottom of your shoe.  
 
Needless to say if you live in a newer home you likely wouldn't find a condensate set up like this and if you notice ANY dripping from a tube over head from the eave of your house it is a signal you have a condensate problem that could lead to a ceiling cave in, water damage, mold growth, HVAC system damages such as shorting out of motors, circuit boards etc.  
 
Many times these drains are quite complex because over the years in my area they have made various changes to how they run these AC condensate lines. While the home owner can use bleach to "TREAT" the drain, you must know where to pour it otherwise you risk damage to your system. Bleach is very corrosive and will damage your system if not used properly and in the proper place.  
 
If the drain line is clogged do not pour anything into it, because you will likely only add charges to the job when you find out what you are trying to do doesn't work and decide to seek the help of a professional.  
 
Today, if you run AC condensate to the out doors in Katy, Texas area the proper way is to drain this as waste water. You should not drain this water just anywhere. Your health, your pets health and your families health depends on it.  
 
Air Conditioning isn't about how much you spend... it's about how much you waste.  
 
Unnecessary medical bills, equipment damages, mold growth, pet bills, water damage to your home. (Hire a LICENSED pro.) 
 
Proper AC condensate drainage is serious business, much more serious than you might think.  

Allison Bailes

<b>Bob L.</b>: Good advice about the cartridge rather than the tablet. Thanks!&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Ray A.</b>: No, I live in Georgia, not California. We're definitely humid here. And no, I definitely don't live in a new house either. It's a 45 year old condo. Regarding proper drainage, that wasn't the purpose of this article, but since you brought it up, the IRC says this: "Condensate shall not discharge into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a nuisance." In Georgia, I see plenty of new homes with condensate lines draining onto the ground in the back or on the side of the house. Maybe building inspectors in Katy, Texas are more strict in their interpretation of that statement than they are here in Georgia. I'm not saying that's the best way to do it, but I've never heard of any people or pets getting sick from condensate either.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>M. Johnson</b>: I've removed my recommendation for pouring bleach into the condensate line because the contractors have spoken up loud and clear on that issue. Algaecides made for air conditioners are the way to go.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Richard P.</b>: Nope. That was the primary drain line. The secondary, as you mentioned, is not connected in our home. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Bill H.</b>: You're welcome. Please note my change on the bleach issue.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Curt K.</b>: Got it. Article revised. When I've done it, I always dilute it and flush it with lots of water, but you're right. Do you have a recommendation for algaecide? And what about the issue of cartridge vs. tablet that Bob Lemley raised?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Rom F.</b>: I've revised the article to remove the bleach recommendation. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />

M.Johnson

My AC technician told me we should pour a cup or so of Clorox into a fitting in the condensate line, up near the coil. Does your equipment have any such fitting, and what do you think of it?

Richard Parker

Hopefully that was not your emergency overfill line rather than the normal condensate line. Coils have two, sometimes the second is not plumbed but it should be. Often the primary line is connected to the house's drain with the secondary exposed like your's or both pipes are run outside directly.

Roy

I am glad that you amended the bleach recommendation. It is not compatible with aluminum fins. I have heard others recommend vinegar, and that is even worse because it can cause formicary corrosion in copper coils.

Regan Murphy

I think putting a shop vac on the drain outlet is the safest way to clear a drain if you have access to the termination point. Negative pressure is much safer than positive pressure especially if you don't know how well all of the PVC connections are put together. In some homes and situations this will not work if you have multiple air handlers tied into one primary drain. If the clog occurs between one of the air handlers and where the drains tee together, then vacuuming from the termination will just pull air from the drain that isn't clogged. In this case you will need to cut the drains between each air handler and the tee and blow them out or vacuum them out from that point. Alternatively you can install PVC ball valves near each air handler so that you can isolate each drain before vacuuming the termination point. 2015 IMC and IRC codes say that you need to be able to clear blockages and perform maintenance on drains without having to cut the pipe.&nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /> <a href="http://allaccessdevice.com/home.html">Here's a device that can make maintenance easier</a>

Bill Hill

That's my kind of problem solving! Thanks, Allison, for the post with the, as always, clear description and photos.

Curt Kinder

NO Bleach! 
 
Consider that pool water heat exchangers designed to deal with just a few parts per million chlorine, are generally made of titanium, and bleach has 82500 ppm Chlorine, and air handlers aren't made of Titanium, just the fumes from bleach pose a risk. 
 
Many HVAC system replacements arise from unrepairable air handler coil refrigerant leaks.

Tom Frymire

I agree with commentator Roy Austin on several points. Especially his caution on the use of bleach - it is a VOC and should not be poured into the condensate. Not only is it an irritant and a health hazard but it can also corrode the fins on evaporator coils. The HVAC manufacturers do not recommend the use of bleach and other caustic chemicals due to fears of formicary corrosion.

Allison Bailes

Bob L.: Good advice about the cartridge rather than the tablet. Thanks! 
 
Ray A.: No, I live in Georgia, not California. We're definitely humid here. And no, I definitely don't live in a new house either. It's a 45 year old condo. Regarding proper drainage, that wasn't the purpose of this article, but since you brought it up, the IRC says this: "Condensate shall not discharge into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a nuisance." In Georgia, I see plenty of new homes with condensate lines draining onto the ground in the back or on the side of the house. Maybe building inspectors in Katy, Texas are more strict in their interpretation of that statement than they are here in Georgia. I'm not saying that's the best way to do it, but I've never heard of any people or pets getting sick from condensate either. 
 
M. Johnson: I've removed my recommendation for pouring bleach into the condensate line because the contractors have spoken up loud and clear on that issue. Algaecides made for air conditioners are the way to go. 
 
Richard P.: Nope. That was the primary drain line. The secondary, as you mentioned, is not connected in our home.  
 
Bill H.: You're welcome. Please note my change on the bleach issue. 
 
Curt K.: Got it. Article revised. When I've done it, I always dilute it and flush it with lots of water, but you're right. Do you have a recommendation for algaecide? And what about the issue of cartridge vs. tablet that Bob Lemley raised? 
 
Rom F.: I've revised the article to remove the bleach recommendation.  
 

Lori

Crimeny. I read the ENTIRE comment thread hoping SOMEBODY would finally answer your question of what algaecide tablet to buy and no such luck. Lots of stuff about Legionnaire's disease, though. (good grief).

We rent a condo, are on the 3rd floor,and have a sputtery window A/C unit leading us to want to treat that standing water in the condensate pan.

Can anybody recommend a specific product/ place to purchase?

Thanks!

(the hand licking comment post-bathroom trip cracked me up good!!)

Jeremy

Shouldn't the hole the condensate line comes out of in the house be air sealed, both for air and for bugs? Maybe it is and that's just not clear in the picture or video...

Steve Wacl.

Allison,&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />An excellent suggestion for one of those "out of sight..." issues that seldom gets attention till it presents as an unwanted wet spot... In addition, you mention your condo is 45 years old and I would posit that line has not been flushed since, umm, 1970 (!).&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />At the risk of being a smart a$&amp; (which has never stopped me before :), I believe the source of your problem with establishing a good seal on the condensate discharge was the use of red duct tape. As everyone knows (except you, apparently :), considerable scientific evidence exists demonstrating that <red> tape is vastly inferior to the traditional grey flavor. I'll forward a link...when I discover one.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />All the best.</red>

Roy

Here are a couple of more condensate drain issues. A well-designed trap is meant to keep air from being sucked into the air handler or blown out of it, depending on the coil location relative to the blower. Preventing air from being sucked in is good for health reasons, especially when you drain to the sanitary sewer. Perhaps the trap also keeps bugs from entering when the drain is plumbed to the outdoors. So what happens in the winter when the furnace or heat pump is operating? Does the trap dry out and quit "working"?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />What about the overflow drain? Should it be trapped for the same reasons? If so, how can the trap work if water doesn't normally flow through it?

Roy

I am glad that you amended the bleach recommendation. It is not compatible with aluminum fins. I have heard others recommend vinegar, and that is even worse because it can cause formicary corrosion in copper coils.

Regan Murphy

I think putting a shop vac on the drain outlet is the safest way to clear a drain if you have access to the termination point. Negative pressure is much safer than positive pressure especially if you don't know how well all of the PVC connections are put together. In some homes and situations this will not work if you have multiple air handlers tied into one primary drain. If the clog occurs between one of the air handlers and where the drains tee together, then vacuuming from the termination will just pull air from the drain that isn't clogged. In this case you will need to cut the drains between each air handler and the tee and blow them out or vacuum them out from that point. Alternatively you can install PVC ball valves near each air handler so that you can isolate each drain before vacuuming the termination point. 2015 IMC and IRC codes say that you need to be able to clear blockages and perform maintenance on drains without having to cut the pipe. 
 
Here's a device that can make maintenance easier

L Burgess

Thank you so much for mentioning this ingenious device -- I just ordered one!

Regan Murphy

Allison, What is the other drain pipe below? It looks like PVC with a wrought iron elbow. Are you sure that it's not your primary drain and you are vacuuming out the auxiliary drain?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Roy, Condensate drains shouldn't be drained directly in to a sewer, if they aren't run outside they should tie in above the plumbing trap of a bathroom sink or other trap that would be presumed to stay wet through out the year. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Condensate traps are typically more important for heat pump/electric heat systems because in most of those systems the drain is under negative pressure pulling into the air handler. So yes, in the winter time the trap(s) do dry out and pull air in from wherever the drains terminate. Also negative pressure air handlers can have trouble draining condensate without the trap and the water in the trap to break the air, condensate has trouble draining out against the air vacuum and may end up in the duct system. Condensate drain problems are probably the single biggest reason people get mold in fiberglass duct systems.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />On just about all systems with gas furnaces the drain is under positive pressure so they don't need the trap to drain properly. It's still a good idea to have a condensate trap on these systems to prevent energy loss from air blowing out the drain and also to prevent bugs or odors from coming through the drain in the off cycle.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Both the primary and auxiliary drains should be trapped. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />On positive pressure systems the air pressure will tend to spit water out of the auxiliary drain due to air pressure. So you end up losing energy from lost air and you may prematurely rust out an auxiliary drain pan. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />On negative pressure systems you want the auxiliary drain to also be trapped because when the primary drain clogs you REALLY need the auxiliary drain to drain effectively or you will end up with water in your ducts.

Jeremy

Shouldn't the hole the condensate line comes out of in the house be air sealed, both for air and for bugs? Maybe it is and that's just not clear in the picture or video...

Steve Wacl.

Allison, 
 
An excellent suggestion for one of those "out of sight..." issues that seldom gets attention till it presents as an unwanted wet spot... In addition, you mention your condo is 45 years old and I would posit that line has not been flushed since, umm, 1970 (!). 
 
At the risk of being a smart a$& (which has never stopped me before :), I believe the source of your problem with establishing a good seal on the condensate discharge was the use of red duct tape. As everyone knows (except you, apparently :), considerable scientific evidence exists demonstrating that tape is vastly inferior to the traditional grey flavor. I'll forward a link...when I discover one. 
 
All the best.

Roy

Here are a couple of more condensate drain issues. A well-designed trap is meant to keep air from being sucked into the air handler or blown out of it, depending on the coil location relative to the blower. Preventing air from being sucked in is good for health reasons, especially when you drain to the sanitary sewer. Perhaps the trap also keeps bugs from entering when the drain is plumbed to the outdoors. So what happens in the winter when the furnace or heat pump is operating? Does the trap dry out and quit "working"? 
 
What about the overflow drain? Should it be trapped for the same reasons? If so, how can the trap work if water doesn't normally flow through it?

Regan Murphy

Allison, What is the other drain pipe below? It looks like PVC with a wrought iron elbow. Are you sure that it's not your primary drain and you are vacuuming out the auxiliary drain? 
 
Roy, Condensate drains shouldn't be drained directly in to a sewer, if they aren't run outside they should tie in above the plumbing trap of a bathroom sink or other trap that would be presumed to stay wet through out the year.  
 
Condensate traps are typically more important for heat pump/electric heat systems because in most of those systems the drain is under negative pressure pulling into the air handler. So yes, in the winter time the trap(s) do dry out and pull air in from wherever the drains terminate. Also negative pressure air handlers can have trouble draining condensate without the trap and the water in the trap to break the air, condensate has trouble draining out against the air vacuum and may end up in the duct system. Condensate drain problems are probably the single biggest reason people get mold in fiberglass duct systems. 
 
On just about all systems with gas furnaces the drain is under positive pressure so they don't need the trap to drain properly. It's still a good idea to have a condensate trap on these systems to prevent energy loss from air blowing out the drain and also to prevent bugs or odors from coming through the drain in the off cycle. 
 
Both the primary and auxiliary drains should be trapped.  
 
On positive pressure systems the air pressure will tend to spit water out of the auxiliary drain due to air pressure. So you end up losing energy from lost air and you may prematurely rust out an auxiliary drain pan.  
 
On negative pressure systems you want the auxiliary drain to also be trapped because when the primary drain clogs you REALLY need the auxiliary drain to drain effectively or you will end up with water in your ducts.

Dan Geist

I called an HVAC company out to my home to diagnose a no-cool situation last year. They came out and tested the outside unit (pressure and short-circuit tests) and it spun up fine, the line-set got cold, etc. The service tech opened up the air handler and quickly stated "Oh, you have a bad thermostat. I can install this whizbang-5000 unit for you for only $300." I asked why I needed all those features for an older system...he didn't have an answer and I politely declined. After a trip to the big orange box for the 19.99 thermostat and installing it, the same problem persisted. So, this time I troubleshot the electrical myself (I'm an engineer, BTW). Turns out the condensate line had completely blocked and the pump had burned itself out from running near 24/7. Overnight delivery from Amazon of a little-giant pump and some new poly tubing solved the problem for about $40 and the store took back my unnecessary new thermostat. I never did recoup the costs of that useless service visit from that HVAC company.&nbsp; <br />

Dan Geist

I called an HVAC company out to my home to diagnose a no-cool situation last year. They came out and tested the outside unit (pressure and short-circuit tests) and it spun up fine, the line-set got cold, etc. The service tech opened up the air handler and quickly stated "Oh, you have a bad thermostat. I can install this whizbang-5000 unit for you for only $300." I asked why I needed all those features for an older system...he didn't have an answer and I politely declined. After a trip to the big orange box for the 19.99 thermostat and installing it, the same problem persisted. So, this time I troubleshot the electrical myself (I'm an engineer, BTW). Turns out the condensate line had completely blocked and the pump had burned itself out from running near 24/7. Overnight delivery from Amazon of a little-giant pump and some new poly tubing solved the problem for about $40 and the store took back my unnecessary new thermostat. I never did recoup the costs of that useless service visit from that HVAC company. 

Ray Austin

Allison, It's called Legionnaire's Disease&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />The bacterium Legionella pneumophila is responsible&nbsp; <br />for most cases of Legionnaires' disease. &nbsp; <br />Outdoors, legionella bacteria survive in soil and &nbsp; <br />water, but rarely cause infections. Indoors, though,&nbsp; <br />legionella bacteria can multiply in&nbsp; <br />all kinds of water systems &mdash; hot tubs, air conditioners &nbsp; <br />and mist sprayers in grocery store produce departments.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />The code in this area more or less states the same&nbsp; <br />reasoning... "so the water will not cause a nuisance"&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />I'm sure a lawyer wrote that statement. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Additionally, the tablets that are used to kill the bacteria&nbsp; <br />if put in separately can swell, float down and &nbsp; <br />clog the drain. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />The best way to fix the problem is design...&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Bacteria can't grow without water. Water does not&nbsp; <br />pool if gravity doesn't allow it to do so. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />

Ray Austin

Allison, It's called Legionnaire's Disease 
 
The bacterium Legionella pneumophila is responsible 
for most cases of Legionnaires' disease.  
Outdoors, legionella bacteria survive in soil and  
water, but rarely cause infections. Indoors, though, 
legionella bacteria can multiply in 
all kinds of water systems — hot tubs, air conditioners  
and mist sprayers in grocery store produce departments. 
 
The code in this area more or less states the same 
reasoning... "so the water will not cause a nuisance" 
 
I'm sure a lawyer wrote that statement.  
 
Additionally, the tablets that are used to kill the bacteria 
if put in separately can swell, float down and  
clog the drain.  
 
The best way to fix the problem is design... 
 
Bacteria can't grow without water. Water does not 
pool if gravity doesn't allow it to do so.  
 

Debbie

I never pictured you &amp; your family in a condo.&nbsp; <br />an energy efficient ongoing building science experiment house...but not a condo!

Debbie

I never pictured you & your family in a condo. 
an energy efficient ongoing building science experiment house...but not a condo!

Ray Austin (Austin Air Co)

Debbie, The internet is the wild west and anyone with a little amount of money can set up shop write a blog and appear like they are a renowned expert. When their true life is much different than anyone would ever think.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />But you and everyone else, must realize you nor anyone else starts their career at the top to work down, they start at the bottom to work their way up. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />With that said, this venue should be set with the aspect of learning something... regardless of where someone lives. Focus on the prospect of learning something new that you did not know. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />The hope is that Allison and his family escapes this science experiment gone bad without getting sick. &nbsp; <br />

Ray Austin (Austin Air Co)

Debbie, The internet is the wild west and anyone with a little amount of money can set up shop write a blog and appear like they are a renowned expert. When their true life is much different than anyone would ever think. 
 
But you and everyone else, must realize you nor anyone else starts their career at the top to work down, they start at the bottom to work their way up.  
 
With that said, this venue should be set with the aspect of learning something... regardless of where someone lives. Focus on the prospect of learning something new that you did not know.  
 
The hope is that Allison and his family escapes this science experiment gone bad without getting sick.  

Allison Bailes

<b>Roy</b>: All good questions regarding condensate lines and traps. But you forgot one: What about those air conditioners that don't have a trap? I've seen plenty. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Regan M.</b>: The other pipe, which is all galvanized steel, is the T&P; relief line for the water heater. I do know the difference between primary and secondary condensate lines. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Jeremy</b>: The hole at the end of the pipe can't be sealed to prevent bugs from entering without also preventing water from exiting. But the trap, if properly designed and installed, should do that. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Steve W.</b>: It's quite possible that this was the first time it was flushed. I used the red tape because that's what we had. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Dan G.</b>: Interesting story. I had to replace the condensate pump at my in-laws' house a few years ago, too, but quickly figured out that was the source of the problem without having to call in their HVAC company. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Debbie</b>: Well, I used to live in the super green house I built in 2001, but then I got a divorce and the economy crashed. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Ray A.</b>: "The hope is that Allison and his family escapes this science experiment gone bad without getting sick." Really? You know enough about my condo to make that pronouncement?

Richard P

Who would have thought condensate drains would stir such emotion? To bad there is not a payback period. If would could that going on a national scale, we would have something.

Debbie

well, well, well...&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />no offense intended Allison.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />my comment wasn't to insult&nbsp; <br />condo dwellers. at times I wish&nbsp; <br />I lived in a place where problems&nbsp; <br />were solved by picking up a phone&nbsp; <br />rather than a tool.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />to get back on sort of on topic...&nbsp; <br />I drain my condensate into&nbsp; <br />a flower bed...home to the&nbsp; <br />best watered plants in the yard.&nbsp; <br />no problems with clogged drain&nbsp; <br />as yet.&nbsp; <br />

Ray Austin

Allison, look at what you just removed &nbsp; <br />from your air conditioner. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Can you honestly say that this is "Perfectly Fine"? If you can&nbsp; <br />say that with a straight face, I will say no more. I issued my&nbsp; <br />warning, you can choose to ignore it if you wish. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />All this "stuff" that you removed starts some where.&nbsp; <br />Where do you suppose it started?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />With 20 years of physically being in homes and &nbsp; <br />seeing these things first hand, I may be the &nbsp; <br />wrong one to ask the question you asked of me (Really? You know enough about my condo to make that pronouncement?)&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Allison, I tend to stand on the side of caution, because&nbsp; <br />at some point your air conditioner will be &nbsp; <br />shut off and things will begin to dry out.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Realize Legionnaires Disease is an air borne virus. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />My HVAC license terminates with an "E" at the&nbsp; <br />end of it. Guess what that "E" stands for?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />"Environmental"&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Don't play a high risk game with your health, it's not worth &nbsp; <br />it on any level. &nbsp; <br />

Dan Geist

<b>Debbie:</b> Funny you should mention plants. My previous home had the condensate from the air handler run to an external (properly installed) drip tube near the front porch. It was a very high efficiency unit and it pulled a LOT of moisture out of the air. The azalea located about 2 feet away was the healthiest I've ever seen and it bloomed for about 6 months every year (acidic, warm water, just like they use at Augusta National :)

Allison Bailes

<b>Richard P.</b>: Yeah, I had no idea AC condensate was such a controversial topic!&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Debbie</b>: And no offense taken. I've written about both my former house and my condo here plenty of times. I'm finally at the point where we can start really improving the condo now, so you'll read more about that in the future.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b>Ray A.</b>: Yes, the condensate line was clogged and I removed a bucket of nasty stuff from it. Where's your evidence that this has ever caused a health problem, especially Legionnaires' disease, in anyone's home? I'd be a lot more worried about the <a href="http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-HERS-BPI/bid/59612/A... possum lying next to the disconnected return duct in the crawl space</a>. (And no, that wasn't a "science experiment" at my condo.)&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />And going back to your first comment, where's your evidence that depositing AC condensate on the ground has ever caused health problems in people or pets? I'm all for erring on the side of caution, but let's not be ridiculous.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Perhaps you should learn more about Legionnaires' disease and Legionella pneumophila. Here's what OSHA says about it:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><i>"Legionnaires' disease bacteria (LDB) cannot survive without water, and a properly operated, well-maintained HVAC system is unlikely to be a source of problems unless water contaminated with the bacteria enters the system. Air conditioning units without humidifiers have not been identified as sources of LDB. For a Legionnaires' disease outbreak to be linked directly with the HVAC system, LDB-contaminated water must enter the system, be aerosolized, and be delivered to building occupants."</i>&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Legionella.org says:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><i>"We are not aware of any cases of Legionnaires' disease acquired from a condensate pan or drain. There would be little opportunity for significant exposure."</i>&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Legionella pneumophila can be a problem in large commercial air conditioners found in large buildings like hotels, hospitals, and office buildings, not the air conditioners in people's homes.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />I know you're a smart guy, Ray, and you know a heck of a lot about HVAC, but you might want to reconsider your tone when you comment here. You're coming off as condescending and pompous.

Allison Bailes

<b>Ray A.</b>: One more thing. You wrote: "I issued my warning, you can choose to ignore it if you wish." The only warning I saw was that I shouldn't drain condensate into the backyard (which also runs, by the way, behind the hedges, onto the downspout diverter, where it gets washed away and diluted with every rainstorm) and that air conditioner condensate can cause Legionnaires' disease. Did you have any recommendations?

Regan Murphy

I like to run the outdoor condensate drains to a dry well or french drain. It helps to disperse the water without it pooling too much. I actually prefer to run them outside as opposed to a plumbing drain. When they run to the sink, the sink will eventually clog and when it does the plumber blames the AC guy and the AC guy blames the plumber. Here in San Antonio, commercial new construction code actually requires all of the condensate to be run to a rainwater collection system.

Cameron Taylor

To Ray Austin:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><i>Realize Legionnaires Disease is an air borne virus. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br />My HVAC license terminates with an "E" at the &nbsp; <br />end of it. Guess what that "E" stands for? &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br />"Environmental"</i><i>&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />It is true Legionnaire's disease can be spread via inhalation. It is also true said virus prefers an environment between 77 and 113&deg;F to thrive. Favorable climates for this would be improperly treated HVAC cooling towers and hot tubs, along with hot water tanks.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />I have not heard of this disease being transmitted via a/c coil condensate, but that's not to say it's not possible for such to be a source.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Regarding Allison and his condo, I know him beyond his blog presence, and can vouch for his sound knowledge and reasoning in building science. Even so, he's still learning all along, as am I, as are all of us interested in this discipline. I think that serves the conversation better than waving our letters, degrees, etc. around like that by default confers final authority.</i>

Allison Bailes

Roy: All good questions regarding condensate lines and traps. But you forgot one: What about those air conditioners that don't have a trap? I've seen plenty.  
 
Regan M.: The other pipe, which is all galvanized steel, is the T&P; relief line for the water heater. I do know the difference between primary and secondary condensate lines.  
 
Jeremy: The hole at the end of the pipe can't be sealed to prevent bugs from entering without also preventing water from exiting. But the trap, if properly designed and installed, should do that.  
 
Steve W.: It's quite possible that this was the first time it was flushed. I used the red tape because that's what we had.  
 
Dan G.: Interesting story. I had to replace the condensate pump at my in-laws' house a few years ago, too, but quickly figured out that was the source of the problem without having to call in their HVAC company.  
 
Debbie: Well, I used to live in the super green house I built in 2001, but then I got a divorce and the economy crashed.  
 
Ray A.: "The hope is that Allison and his family escapes this science experiment gone bad without getting sick." Really? You know enough about my condo to make that pronouncement?

Michael B

We have 2 HVAC Units in our finished basement (where we reside several hours per day) that drain into a sump pit. One is inches away from the pit; the other is approx. 50 feet away. Other than condensate from the HVAC units, this pit never has any other water in it. So the condensate that runs into the pit is never expelled. The, sump pit would seem to be a prefect mold breeding ground. Hence, my search for a way to keep both the (under the floor) 50’ drain pipe and pit as mold free as possible. Is there some sort of product/solution – e.g. bleach, peroxide etc. that could be safely run through the drain pipe and poured into the sump pit to prevent mold growth? Safe as in non-harmful to the sump pump, the PVC drain pipe and human health?

Richard P

Who would have thought condensate drains would stir such emotion? To bad there is not a payback period. If would could that going on a national scale, we would have something.

Debbie

well, well, well... 
 
no offense intended Allison. 
 
my comment wasn't to insult 
condo dwellers. at times I wish 
I lived in a place where problems 
were solved by picking up a phone 
rather than a tool. 
 
to get back on sort of on topic... 
I drain my condensate into 
a flower bed...home to the 
best watered plants in the yard. 
no problems with clogged drain 
as yet. 

Ray Austin

Allison, look at what you just removed  
from your air conditioner.  
 
Can you honestly say that this is "Perfectly Fine"? If you can 
say that with a straight face, I will say no more. I issued my 
warning, you can choose to ignore it if you wish.  
 
All this "stuff" that you removed starts some where. 
Where do you suppose it started? 
 
With 20 years of physically being in homes and  
seeing these things first hand, I may be the  
wrong one to ask the question you asked of me (Really? You know enough about my condo to make that pronouncement?) 
 
Allison, I tend to stand on the side of caution, because 
at some point your air conditioner will be  
shut off and things will begin to dry out. 
 
Realize Legionnaires Disease is an air borne virus.  
 
My HVAC license terminates with an "E" at the 
end of it. Guess what that "E" stands for? 
 
"Environmental" 
 
Don't play a high risk game with your health, it's not worth  
it on any level.  

Dan Geist

Debbie: Funny you should mention plants. My previous home had the condensate from the air handler run to an external (properly installed) drip tube near the front porch. It was a very high efficiency unit and it pulled a LOT of moisture out of the air. The azalea located about 2 feet away was the healthiest I've ever seen and it bloomed for about 6 months every year (acidic, warm water, just like they use at Augusta National :)

Cameron Taylor

I thought I'd mention one thing I haven't seen brought forth yet above: some residential condensate lines are not piped to the outdoors, but rather either directly into the sanitary sewer piping or indirectly via a bathroom sink drain trap. Blowing the latter down can create a huge mess in a bathroom if proper precautions are not taken. Don't ask me how I know that... :)&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Regarding traps at the air handler: if the air handler is a draw-through type (blower at return opening with DX coil and heating coils downstream), this trap is to provide a seal so the condensate can drain properly. If the trap was not present, air would be drawn into the unit via the drain pipe, trapping water in the condensate pan, which would soon overflow and ruin drywall ceilings.

Allison Bailes

Richard P.: Yeah, I had no idea AC condensate was such a controversial topic! 
 
Debbie: And no offense taken. I've written about both my former house and my condo here plenty of times. I'm finally at the point where we can start really improving the condo now, so you'll read more about that in the future. 
 
Ray A.: Yes, the condensate line was clogged and I removed a bucket of nasty stuff from it. Where's your evidence that this has ever caused a health problem, especially Legionnaires' disease, in anyone's home? I'd be a lot more worried about the dead possum lying next to the disconnected return duct in the crawl space. (And no, that wasn't a "science experiment" at my condo.) 
 
And going back to your first comment, where's your evidence that depositing AC condensate on the ground has ever caused health problems in people or pets? I'm all for erring on the side of caution, but let's not be ridiculous. 
 
Perhaps you should learn more about Legionnaires' disease and Legionella pneumophila. Here's what OSHA says about it: 
 
"Legionnaires' disease bacteria (LDB) cannot survive without water, and a properly operated, well-maintained HVAC system is unlikely to be a source of problems unless water contaminated with the bacteria enters the system. Air conditioning units without humidifiers have not been identified as sources of LDB. For a Legionnaires' disease outbreak to be linked directly with the HVAC system, LDB-contaminated water must enter the system, be aerosolized, and be delivered to building occupants." 
 
Legionella.org says: 
 
"We are not aware of any cases of Legionnaires' disease acquired from a condensate pan or drain. There would be little opportunity for significant exposure." 
 
Legionella pneumophila can be a problem in large commercial air conditioners found in large buildings like hotels, hospitals, and office buildings, not the air conditioners in people's homes. 
 
I know you're a smart guy, Ray, and you know a heck of a lot about HVAC, but you might want to reconsider your tone when you comment here. You're coming off as condescending and pompous.

Allison Bailes

Ray A.: One more thing. You wrote: "I issued my warning, you can choose to ignore it if you wish." The only warning I saw was that I shouldn't drain condensate into the backyard (which also runs, by the way, behind the hedges, onto the downspout diverter, where it gets washed away and diluted with every rainstorm) and that air conditioner condensate can cause Legionnaires' disease. Did you have any recommendations?

Cameron Taylor

Correction to my last post: coil in draw through air handler is first, followed by blower and heating elements. Please excuse my error.

Regan Murphy

I like to run the outdoor condensate drains to a dry well or french drain. It helps to disperse the water without it pooling too much. I actually prefer to run them outside as opposed to a plumbing drain. When they run to the sink, the sink will eventually clog and when it does the plumber blames the AC guy and the AC guy blames the plumber. Here in San Antonio, commercial new construction code actually requires all of the condensate to be run to a rainwater collection system.

Cameron Taylor

To Ray Austin: 
 
Realize Legionnaires Disease is an air borne virus.  
 
My HVAC license terminates with an "E" at the  
end of it. Guess what that "E" stands for?  
 
"Environmental"
 
 
It is true Legionnaire's disease can be spread via inhalation. It is also true said virus prefers an environment between 77 and 113°F to thrive. Favorable climates for this would be improperly treated HVAC cooling towers and hot tubs, along with hot water tanks. 
 
I have not heard of this disease being transmitted via a/c coil condensate, but that's not to say it's not possible for such to be a source. 
 
Regarding Allison and his condo, I know him beyond his blog presence, and can vouch for his sound knowledge and reasoning in building science. Even so, he's still learning all along, as am I, as are all of us interested in this discipline. I think that serves the conversation better than waving our letters, degrees, etc. around like that by default confers final authority.

Cameron Taylor

I thought I'd mention one thing I haven't seen brought forth yet above: some residential condensate lines are not piped to the outdoors, but rather either directly into the sanitary sewer piping or indirectly via a bathroom sink drain trap. Blowing the latter down can create a huge mess in a bathroom if proper precautions are not taken. Don't ask me how I know that... :) 
 
Regarding traps at the air handler: if the air handler is a draw-through type (blower at return opening with DX coil and heating coils downstream), this trap is to provide a seal so the condensate can drain properly. If the trap was not present, air would be drawn into the unit via the drain pipe, trapping water in the condensate pan, which would soon overflow and ruin drywall ceilings.

Roy

Regardless of where you direct the condensate drain, I would claim that there will be heating conditions when conventional p-traps dry out and that secondary traps will almost always be empty. Is this a problem? There is at least one type of waterless trap available that uses what looks like a ping-pong ball and a spring. Do any of you have experience with this device?

Ted

Yuck. When was that last done ya think? Never? Another good post Allison. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />If that condensate line made it 45 years without service, I don't think it'd be fair to call it a bad design or install. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Now on that water heater relief, wouldn't you want that somewhere you'd notice if it started leaking?

Cameron Taylor

Correction to my last post: coil in draw through air handler is first, followed by blower and heating elements. Please excuse my error.

Roy

Regardless of where you direct the condensate drain, I would claim that there will be heating conditions when conventional p-traps dry out and that secondary traps will almost always be empty. Is this a problem? There is at least one type of waterless trap available that uses what looks like a ping-pong ball and a spring. Do any of you have experience with this device?

Ted

Yuck. When was that last done ya think? Never? Another good post Allison.  
 
If that condensate line made it 45 years without service, I don't think it'd be fair to call it a bad design or install.  
 
Now on that water heater relief, wouldn't you want that somewhere you'd notice if it started leaking?

Ray Austin

Allison, what does your evaporator coil look like?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />What about the condensate pan the coil sits in?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Would you eat without washing your hands after handling&nbsp; <br />that slime? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Would you drink that water?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />But yet you're willing to breathe the air that blows across that &nbsp; <br />coil and into your home? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />What you can do? Plenty. Tilt the coil so&nbsp; <br />water doesn't pool, pitch the drain lines at an angle&nbsp; <br />Remember I said "you can fix it via design." &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Gravity wins every time. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />No pooling water, no worries... as far as pooling&nbsp; <br />outside someone mentioned the fix via installing a &nbsp; <br />French drain. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Most cases of Legionaires disease most likely&nbsp; <br />go unreported due to the fact that it just &nbsp; <br />mimics cold symptoms and flu symptoms. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Like pneumonia or Pontiac fever.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />According to the CDC...&nbsp; <br />Between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized yearly with Legionnaires' disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. &nbsp; <br />However, the number of infections may be higher because many cases are not diagnosed or reported.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Additionally why don't you take some of that slimy water and get it tested and find out exactly what kind of crap is going in there? Why play a guessing game? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Cleanliness is next to Godliness after all. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />If I rubbed someone the wrong way with what I say...&nbsp; <br />were my intentions bad? Do I have some evil motivation? Is &nbsp; <br />the world crazy that they want to take chances with their&nbsp; <br />health? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Will you lie in bed awake at night the next time&nbsp; <br />someone in your house gets sick? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />My opinion is my opinion, it doesn't bother &nbsp; <br />me if you don't like it. It wouldn't be the &nbsp; <br />first time someone has disagreed with&nbsp; <br />me. LOL. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Sleep tight Allison, don't let &nbsp; <br />the AC cooties bite ya.&nbsp; <br />

Cameron Taylor

Ray, all I can say is have you ever had airconditioning condensate water tested for Legionnaire's disease? And if you have, and it tested positive, what follow up with the customer did you take? Do you test cruddy condensate water every time you find it? Is that cost included in your service charge to your customer? Do they ever balk at wanting such testing done or welcome it with open arms? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />And finally, if you do test every time you clean a condensate line, has it helped build your business revenue and reputation in your community?

Curt Kinder

For what it's worth I have a couple clients who actively collect AC condensate within rainwater catchment system for use on plants. Neither has died so far.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />I'm not an expert, but I suspect the peril ascribed to Legionella (and mold, for that matter) may be just a tad overwrought.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />In my neck of the woods we are surrounded by natural and artificial bodies of standing fresh water as well as a myriad of condensate drips drains and puddles all at Legionella-favorable temperatures for months on end.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />If the Legionella risk were all that, I suspect our battalion of billboard / public transit advertising ambulance chasing tort lawyers would be hounding every owner of a window unit, minisplit or conventional split heat pump / AC system if so much as a whiff of liability were to be ascribed to wayward condensate.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />

Allison Bailes

<b>Ray A.</b>: You've mentioned illness in my household a couple of times now, so I should say something about that. I don't think my wife has had more than one cold in the eight years she's lived here. I've had a couple of colds, maybe, but nothing in the past two years. I ascribe it all to my program of developing and enhancing immunity by exposing myself to bacteria and other organisms as much as I can, especially by licking my hands after I go to the bathroom. (Just kidding! And tip of the hat to my former Southface coworker, Sean B., for that one.) &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br />Apparently you're just digging in your heels now, so I'm going to go to bed and enjoy our wonderful, cool, conditioned air, knowing that the condensate off the evaporator is dripping into the pan and draining out into the backyard, as it should. &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Cameron T.</b>: Great questions! &nbsp; <br /> &nbsp; <br /><b>Curt K.</b>: If you missed it above, Regan Murphy said that San Antonio requires condensate to be put into the rainwater catchment systems there.

Ray Austin

Cameron, no I don't test condensate water because&nbsp; <br />the condensate drains within the areas that I work&nbsp; <br />the water is drained as waste water down typically a &nbsp; <br />bathroom sink or tub drain. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Allison, Good Luck! ;-)&nbsp; <br />

Regan Murphy

I think the Legionnaire's disease thing somehow got lumped in with home air conditioning because of mentions of commercial air conditioning systems in information about Legionnaire's. What they really mean is commercial cooling towers. There are big differences between commercial cooling towers and residential split air conditioners when it comes to how the water is involved.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />For the purpose of this discussion the differences between a commercial cooling tower and a residential split air conditioning system are as follows:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Cooling tower: There is a very high water evaporation rate and high humidity in the cooling tower. Only clean water leaves the cooling tower. Any contaminant and bacteria or anything else will accumulate in the tower like a cesspool.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Residential air conditioner: Water is being condensed from the air stream, not evaporating into the air stream. Much much lower amount of water involved. Condensate drains are dumping relatively clean water mixed anything in the air that made it past the filter, hits the evaporator coil and then is washed off. The new water and all of the crap in the water both drain down, without predudice. When the air conditioners are really cranking out condensate, it's usually pretty hot outside. So at least here in San Antonio that water that runs outside evaporates pretty quickly. There is obviously still condensate at night because our air conditioners are still running, but usually not so much that the ground can't absorb it. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />If the problem is really about pooling water then why don't we hear about a bunch of people dropping dead every time it rains? &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Legionnaire's disease is contracted by inhalation of water that is contaminated.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />According to the CDC people that work on or around the following are of higher risk Legionnaires' disease:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Hot tubs&nbsp; <br />Cooling towers&nbsp; <br />Hot water tanks&nbsp; <br />Large plumbing systems&nbsp; <br />Decorative fountains&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />What do they all have in common? The potential for large amounts of stagnant water and high water evaporation rates into the air around them. Definitely not the same thing as a residential condensate drain.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />go to Google news and search:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />"death by meteorite", "death struck by lightning" or "death by plane crash"&nbsp; <br />You get some evidence that people actually die from those events&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Then search "death ac Legionnaires condensate drain" or some variation of that and see how many stories you can find. See if you can find one credible story of someone dying from Legionnaire's disease from their home air conditioner's condensate.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />I'm going to worry about something that's a bigger risk to me and my family than catching Legionnaire's disease from our home air conditioning. Like getting struck by lightning.

Ray Austin

Allison, what does your evaporator coil look like? 
 
What about the condensate pan the coil sits in? 
 
Would you eat without washing your hands after handling 
that slime?  
 
Would you drink that water? 
 
But yet you're willing to breathe the air that blows across that  
coil and into your home?  
 
What you can do? Plenty. Tilt the coil so 
water doesn't pool, pitch the drain lines at an angle 
Remember I said "you can fix it via design."  
 
Gravity wins every time.  
 
No pooling water, no worries... as far as pooling 
outside someone mentioned the fix via installing a  
French drain.  
 
Most cases of Legionaires disease most likely 
go unreported due to the fact that it just  
mimics cold symptoms and flu symptoms.  
 
Like pneumonia or Pontiac fever. 
 
According to the CDC... 
Between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized yearly with Legionnaires' disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  
However, the number of infections may be higher because many cases are not diagnosed or reported. 
 
Additionally why don't you take some of that slimy water and get it tested and find out exactly what kind of crap is going in there? Why play a guessing game?  
 
Cleanliness is next to Godliness after all.  
 
If I rubbed someone the wrong way with what I say... 
were my intentions bad? Do I have some evil motivation? Is  
the world crazy that they want to take chances with their 
health?  
 
Will you lie in bed awake at night the next time 
someone in your house gets sick?  
 
My opinion is my opinion, it doesn't bother  
me if you don't like it. It wouldn't be the  
first time someone has disagreed with 
me. LOL.  
 
Sleep tight Allison, don't let  
the AC cooties bite ya. 

Cameron Taylor

Ray, all I can say is have you ever had airconditioning condensate water tested for Legionnaire's disease? And if you have, and it tested positive, what follow up with the customer did you take? Do you test cruddy condensate water every time you find it? Is that cost included in your service charge to your customer? Do they ever balk at wanting such testing done or welcome it with open arms?  
 
 
And finally, if you do test every time you clean a condensate line, has it helped build your business revenue and reputation in your community?

Curt Kinder

For what it's worth I have a couple clients who actively collect AC condensate within rainwater catchment system for use on plants. Neither has died so far. 
 
I'm not an expert, but I suspect the peril ascribed to Legionella (and mold, for that matter) may be just a tad overwrought. 
 
In my neck of the woods we are surrounded by natural and artificial bodies of standing fresh water as well as a myriad of condensate drips drains and puddles all at Legionella-favorable temperatures for months on end. 
 
If the Legionella risk were all that, I suspect our battalion of billboard / public transit advertising ambulance chasing tort lawyers would be hounding every owner of a window unit, minisplit or conventional split heat pump / AC system if so much as a whiff of liability were to be ascribed to wayward condensate. 
 

Allison Bailes

Ray A.: You've mentioned illness in my household a couple of times now, so I should say something about that. I don't think my wife has had more than one cold in the eight years she's lived here. I've had a couple of colds, maybe, but nothing in the past two years. I ascribe it all to my program of developing and enhancing immunity by exposing myself to bacteria and other organisms as much as I can, especially by licking my hands after I go to the bathroom. (Just kidding! And tip of the hat to my former Southface coworker, Sean B., for that one.)  
 
Apparently you're just digging in your heels now, so I'm going to go to bed and enjoy our wonderful, cool, conditioned air, knowing that the condensate off the evaporator is dripping into the pan and draining out into the backyard, as it should.  
 
Cameron T.: Great questions!  
 
Curt K.: If you missed it above, Regan Murphy said that San Antonio requires condensate to be put into the rainwater catchment systems there.

Ray Austin

Cameron, no I don't test condensate water because 
the condensate drains within the areas that I work 
the water is drained as waste water down typically a  
bathroom sink or tub drain.  
 
Allison, Good Luck! ;-) 

Regan Murphy

I think the Legionnaire's disease thing somehow got lumped in with home air conditioning because of mentions of commercial air conditioning systems in information about Legionnaire's. What they really mean is commercial cooling towers. There are big differences between commercial cooling towers and residential split air conditioners when it comes to how the water is involved. 
 
For the purpose of this discussion the differences between a commercial cooling tower and a residential split air conditioning system are as follows: 
 
Cooling tower: There is a very high water evaporation rate and high humidity in the cooling tower. Only clean water leaves the cooling tower. Any contaminant and bacteria or anything else will accumulate in the tower like a cesspool. 
 
Residential air conditioner: Water is being condensed from the air stream, not evaporating into the air stream. Much much lower amount of water involved. Condensate drains are dumping relatively clean water mixed anything in the air that made it past the filter, hits the evaporator coil and then is washed off. The new water and all of the crap in the water both drain down, without predudice. When the air conditioners are really cranking out condensate, it's usually pretty hot outside. So at least here in San Antonio that water that runs outside evaporates pretty quickly. There is obviously still condensate at night because our air conditioners are still running, but usually not so much that the ground can't absorb it.  
 
If the problem is really about pooling water then why don't we hear about a bunch of people dropping dead every time it rains?  
 
Legionnaire's disease is contracted by inhalation of water that is contaminated. 
 
According to the CDC people that work on or around the following are of higher risk Legionnaires' disease: 
 
Hot tubs 
Cooling towers 
Hot water tanks 
Large plumbing systems 
Decorative fountains 
 
http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html 
 
What do they all have in common? The potential for large amounts of stagnant water and high water evaporation rates into the air around them. Definitely not the same thing as a residential condensate drain. 
 
go to Google news and search: 
 
"death by meteorite", "death struck by lightning" or "death by plane crash" 
You get some evidence that people actually die from those events 
 
Then search "death ac Legionnaires condensate drain" or some variation of that and see how many stories you can find. See if you can find one credible story of someone dying from Legionnaire's disease from their home air conditioner's condensate. 
 
I'm going to worry about something that's a bigger risk to me and my family than catching Legionnaire's disease from our home air conditioning. Like getting struck by lightning.

Ray Austin

Regan,&nbsp; <br />Legionnaire's disease is only one of many things that are 'possible'... IAQ or Indoor Air Quality can be a big part of this business due to respiratory ailments such as asthma.... These ailments come from mold, mildew, bacteria etc. They won't effect everyone the same. For me personally, this is what I do for a living... I will always err on the side of caution... regardless of how unlikely something may seem.&nbsp; <br />Here&rsquo;s the problem. Cold gas is pumped through an air conditioner coil. A coil is made up of copper tubing with aluminum fins. The cold gas travels through the copper coil transmitting its low temperature to the aluminum fins, which are now chilled. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Return air from the house is filtered and blown through the air conditioner coil fins, which are chilled. The filtered return air is chilled by passing over, under, and around the chilled aluminum fins and copper tubing. The chilled fins condense the moisture out of the return air, much the same as a chilled glass of water. The moisture drips off the fins down to a collector or drip pan, where it is drained away as condensate wastewater. &nbsp; <br />Here is a cross section of a clean AC coil. Note that the aluminum fins transfer cold. Meanwhile, the copper tubes carry chilled gas. &nbsp; <br />The problem comes to play when the filtered, often not so filtered, return air deposits mold spores and bacteria on the moist coil surfaces. (Most air conditioner filters will not filter mold spores and bacteria and actually act as a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.) As the air conditioner system cycles on and off, the air conditioner gets damp, cold, and warm. This wet, dark environment is a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Many forms of mold love this atmosphere including Listeria, a bacterium that loves ice bins and air conditioner systems. Listeria is known for its ability to cause large outbreaks of food poisoning in restaurants. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Mold and bacteria buildup on an air conditioner coil will give you the following indoor air and other problems: &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; mold odors; (IE: Dirty Sock Syndrome)&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; airborne mold; &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; increased allergy risks; &nbsp; <br />&bull; increased mold colonization of environment; &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; increase in airborne bacteria and associated risk; &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; decrease in air conditioner airflow; &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; decrease in air conditioner efficiency; &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; reduced equipment lifespan; and &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />&bull; higher electric bills.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><a>http://www.achrnews.com/articles/106240-mold-bacteria-protection-of-a-c-... <br />&nbsp; <br />Info on dirty sock syndrome: &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><a>http://asm-air.com/airconditioning/dirty-sock-syndrome-what-is-it-danger... <br />&nbsp; <br />Biohazards of an air conditioning system:&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><a>http://www.abatement.com/pdf/biological-contaminants-hvac-system.pdf</a>... <br />

Cameron Taylor

Ray,&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Now we have mold, bacteria, Listeria, and undisclosed allergens in addition to Legionnaire's disease introduced into the matrix.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Do you test for these factors for each customer you have? Or is it sufficient for you to see an environment favorable for the factors (dirty coils, condensate pans, duct liners, etc.) without sending tape lifts, air sampling cassettes, or water samples off to a testing lab?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Also, what are the general concentration levels, in parts per million (ppm) where each factor becomes potentially harmful for human beings?&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Most of what you're talking about can be mitigated by preventive maintenance. Find a cooling tower that breeds Legionella and I'll show you a cooling tower with poor water treatment management. Find me a cooling coil and internal duct liner full of mold and I'll show you one that hasn't been cleaned forever and a day, and/or poor air filter management.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Allison started off this article by mentioning a maintenance step that should be done an a regular basis to HVAC condensate piping and pans; i.e. blow them down and clean the coils to reduce maintenance headaches as well as potential property damage, as well as the indoor air quality concerns you raise.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />One other thing: the most consistently clean cooling coils I've ever seen, day in and day out, are ones where UVA lights can shine on them. UVA lights don't sanitize air, contrary to popular misconception. There simply isn't enough dwell time for the air to be cleansed. Rather, the lights keep the chilled surfaces clean, which air must pass. If it were me I'd require UVA lights on every cold section of an HVAC system where air we breathe must pass through.

Ray Austin

Regan, 
Legionnaire's disease is only one of many things that are 'possible'... IAQ or Indoor Air Quality can be a big part of this business due to respiratory ailments such as asthma.... These ailments come from mold, mildew, bacteria etc. They won't effect everyone the same. For me personally, this is what I do for a living... I will always err on the side of caution... regardless of how unlikely something may seem. 
Here’s the problem. Cold gas is pumped through an air conditioner coil. A coil is made up of copper tubing with aluminum fins. The cold gas travels through the copper coil transmitting its low temperature to the aluminum fins, which are now chilled.  
 
Return air from the house is filtered and blown through the air conditioner coil fins, which are chilled. The filtered return air is chilled by passing over, under, and around the chilled aluminum fins and copper tubing. The chilled fins condense the moisture out of the return air, much the same as a chilled glass of water. The moisture drips off the fins down to a collector or drip pan, where it is drained away as condensate wastewater.  
Here is a cross section of a clean AC coil. Note that the aluminum fins transfer cold. Meanwhile, the copper tubes carry chilled gas.  
The problem comes to play when the filtered, often not so filtered, return air deposits mold spores and bacteria on the moist coil surfaces. (Most air conditioner filters will not filter mold spores and bacteria and actually act as a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.) As the air conditioner system cycles on and off, the air conditioner gets damp, cold, and warm. This wet, dark environment is a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria.  
 
Many forms of mold love this atmosphere including Listeria, a bacterium that loves ice bins and air conditioner systems. Listeria is known for its ability to cause large outbreaks of food poisoning in restaurants.  
 
Mold and bacteria buildup on an air conditioner coil will give you the following indoor air and other problems:  
 
• mold odors; (IE: Dirty Sock Syndrome) 
 
• airborne mold;  
 
• increased allergy risks;  
• increased mold colonization of environment;  
 
• increase in airborne bacteria and associated risk;  
 
• decrease in air conditioner airflow;  
 
• decrease in air conditioner efficiency;  
 
• reduced equipment lifespan; and  
 
• higher electric bills. 
 
http://www.achrnews.com/articles/106240-mold-bacteria-protection-of-a-c-coil 
 
Info on dirty sock syndrome:  
 
http://asm-air.com/airconditioning/dirty-sock-syndrome-what-is-it-dangerous/ 
 
Biohazards of an air conditioning system: 
 
http://www.abatement.com/pdf/biological-contaminants-hvac-system.pdf 

Richard P

Cameron is spot on about UV lights, they work GREAT when it comes to keeping the coil and pan spotless. Highly recommended and relatively low cost.

Curt Kinder

We view UV lights as pricey hookum unless a medical practitioner prescribes one. They only "clean" what they shine directly upon which would be the edge of the fins and the top surface of the first row of tubes. Everything else is in shadow and thus unimproved by UV.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />HVAC contractors short on integrity mark them up 400%+ and return every year to replace the bulb at a similar markup.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />UV lights will degrade / destroy plastics such as condensate pans and wire insulation, which I guess is a benefit if one's business model is based on frequent high dollar service tickets.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />We haven't furnished a UV light, ever.

Cameron Taylor

Ray, 
 
Now we have mold, bacteria, Listeria, and undisclosed allergens in addition to Legionnaire's disease introduced into the matrix. 
 
Do you test for these factors for each customer you have? Or is it sufficient for you to see an environment favorable for the factors (dirty coils, condensate pans, duct liners, etc.) without sending tape lifts, air sampling cassettes, or water samples off to a testing lab? 
 
Also, what are the general concentration levels, in parts per million (ppm) where each factor becomes potentially harmful for human beings? 
 
Most of what you're talking about can be mitigated by preventive maintenance. Find a cooling tower that breeds Legionella and I'll show you a cooling tower with poor water treatment management. Find me a cooling coil and internal duct liner full of mold and I'll show you one that hasn't been cleaned forever and a day, and/or poor air filter management. 
 
Allison started off this article by mentioning a maintenance step that should be done an a regular basis to HVAC condensate piping and pans; i.e. blow them down and clean the coils to reduce maintenance headaches as well as potential property damage, as well as the indoor air quality concerns you raise. 
 
One other thing: the most consistently clean cooling coils I've ever seen, day in and day out, are ones where UVA lights can shine on them. UVA lights don't sanitize air, contrary to popular misconception. There simply isn't enough dwell time for the air to be cleansed. Rather, the lights keep the chilled surfaces clean, which air must pass. If it were me I'd require UVA lights on every cold section of an HVAC system where air we breathe must pass through.

Cameron Taylor

The UV lighting arrays I had in mind in my last post were in commercial HVAC units, and had surfaces resistant to UV light. I have seen harm done to non UV light surfaces inside air handlers.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />When I worked at a museum, we replaced one air handler with a new one equipped with UVA lights shining on the chilled water coils and stainless steel condensate pans. In two years operation hence the pans and coils still appeared as clean as commissioning day, with no buildup of gunk in the pans or deposits on the coils. The backside of the coil did not have UV lights on them, but were downstream from the blower. This side did not show any buildup, either.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />For residential I'm not sure if UV is optimal. For commercial HVAC air handlers that operate 24/7 and move large volumes of air, I do see a benefit.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />I don't sell equipment or parts or HVAC service. Rather I am in facilities management. I'm only reporting my experience with UV on commercial HVAC, which has been positive to date.

Richard P

Cameron is spot on about UV lights, they work GREAT when it comes to keeping the coil and pan spotless. Highly recommended and relatively low cost.

Richard P

My last comment: UV does work especially for surface treatment of coils. Widely used in hospitals and some commercial applications, in addition to sanitizing rainwater collection systems. It helps to include a four or five inch pleated filter. Honeywell base 36w system is easily installed just downstream of coil. http://electronicaircleaners.com/uv100a1059.aspx

Curt Kinder

We view UV lights as pricey hookum unless a medical practitioner prescribes one. They only "clean" what they shine directly upon which would be the edge of the fins and the top surface of the first row of tubes. Everything else is in shadow and thus unimproved by UV. 
 
HVAC contractors short on integrity mark them up 400%+ and return every year to replace the bulb at a similar markup. 
 
UV lights will degrade / destroy plastics such as condensate pans and wire insulation, which I guess is a benefit if one's business model is based on frequent high dollar service tickets. 
 
We haven't furnished a UV light, ever.

Ray Austin

<b> Cameron </b> I work residential service probably around 99%. The majority of what I see in regards to condensate problems are soap scum, hair and dirt because most condensate traps that I deal with are backed up due to sink or bath tub use and not condensate sludge. Coil problems are typically 100% cat or dog hair due to improper or poor filtration among other things... let me tell you that stuff alone could cause you to gag a maggot. But that cat or dog hair doesn't bother the home owner, because it's their pet. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />When I listed Legionnaire's disease I knew that it was an airborne disease that "could" potentially exist within an air conditioning system regardless of how remote you would never know until you test for it as well as go to the doctor and have him test for it there (if you are sick) from what I've read about it thus far it is hard to diagnose accurately because the symptoms mimic the flu. As I've read up more on this subject I've learned of additional viruses and potentially other contaminants that again "could" be present. Without testing it you wouldn't know. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />So to say this or that or argue about whether I do testing I am not the one posting videos of nasty condensate sludge being sucked from a condensate line that by definition of most codes is not by any means up to that code definition. &nbsp; <br />I don't have any nasty condensate sludge to test even if I wanted to.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />The condensate lines I work on are up to code.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Another reason why this business isn't so easy, because everyone and anyone has their own beliefs of what is right or wrong. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br /><b> Curt Kinder </b> You're are absolutely correct! UV bulbs are dangerous too, they will burn your eyes, they lose effectiveness after 12 months and are recommended to be replaced that often. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />If someone ever requests them from me I will install them but only after fully letting them know the pros and cons of such devices. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />Ironically, if you design the system to drain the water from typical pooling areas the water isn't allowed to sit in there long enough to encourage the growth of anything. Proper filtration will also keep the coil clean as a whistle. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />UV bulbs are only treating the symptom, they are not solving the problem. To be a true problem solver you must solve the problem without creating additional problems... namely having to replace that stupid bulb every 12 months. &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />But it's too easy to just sell something for the sake of selling it. Buyer Beware. &nbsp; <br />

Cameron Taylor

The UV lighting arrays I had in mind in my last post were in commercial HVAC units, and had surfaces resistant to UV light. I have seen harm done to non UV light surfaces inside air handlers. 
 
When I worked at a museum, we replaced one air handler with a new one equipped with UVA lights shining on the chilled water coils and stainless steel condensate pans. In two years operation hence the pans and coils still appeared as clean as commissioning day, with no buildup of gunk in the pans or deposits on the coils. The backside of the coil did not have UV lights on them, but were downstream from the blower. This side did not show any buildup, either. 
 
For residential I'm not sure if UV is optimal. For commercial HVAC air handlers that operate 24/7 and move large volumes of air, I do see a benefit. 
 
I don't sell equipment or parts or HVAC service. Rather I am in facilities management. I'm only reporting my experience with UV on commercial HVAC, which has been positive to date.

Richard P

My last comment: UV does work especially for surface treatment of coils. Widely used in hospitals and some commercial applications, in addition to sanitizing rainwater collection systems. It helps to include a four or five inch pleated filter. Honeywell base 36w system is easily installed just downstream of coil. http://electronicaircleaners.com/uv100a1059.aspx

Ray Austin

Cameron I work residential service probably around 99%. The majority of what I see in regards to condensate problems are soap scum, hair and dirt because most condensate traps that I deal with are backed up due to sink or bath tub use and not condensate sludge. Coil problems are typically 100% cat or dog hair due to improper or poor filtration among other things... let me tell you that stuff alone could cause you to gag a maggot. But that cat or dog hair doesn't bother the home owner, because it's their pet.  
 
When I listed Legionnaire's disease I knew that it was an airborne disease that "could" potentially exist within an air conditioning system regardless of how remote you would never know until you test for it as well as go to the doctor and have him test for it there (if you are sick) from what I've read about it thus far it is hard to diagnose accurately because the symptoms mimic the flu. As I've read up more on this subject I've learned of additional viruses and potentially other contaminants that again "could" be present. Without testing it you wouldn't know.  
 
So to say this or that or argue about whether I do testing I am not the one posting videos of nasty condensate sludge being sucked from a condensate line that by definition of most codes is not by any means up to that code definition.  
I don't have any nasty condensate sludge to test even if I wanted to. 
 
The condensate lines I work on are up to code. 
 
Another reason why this business isn't so easy, because everyone and anyone has their own beliefs of what is right or wrong.  
 
Curt Kinder You're are absolutely correct! UV bulbs are dangerous too, they will burn your eyes, they lose effectiveness after 12 months and are recommended to be replaced that often.  
 
If someone ever requests them from me I will install them but only after fully letting them know the pros and cons of such devices.  
 
Ironically, if you design the system to drain the water from typical pooling areas the water isn't allowed to sit in there long enough to encourage the growth of anything. Proper filtration will also keep the coil clean as a whistle.  
 
UV bulbs are only treating the symptom, they are not solving the problem. To be a true problem solver you must solve the problem without creating additional problems... namely having to replace that stupid bulb every 12 months.  
 
But it's too easy to just sell something for the sake of selling it. Buyer Beware.  

L Burgess

Thank you so much for mentioning this ingenious device -- I just ordered one!

Richard P

For anyone reading down this far and have a concern because your condensate line is plumbed to the house waster water vent or drain, Rectorseal has an interesting line of &quot;one way&quot; seals (EZT150) that keep sewer gases out even with a dry trap:

http://www.rectorseal.com/index.php/waterless-kits/

It includes easy access cleanout ports and could be installed above an existing trap for double protection.

Richard P

For anyone reading down this far and have a concern because your condensate line is plumbed to the house waster water vent or drain, Rectorseal has an interesting line of "one way" seals (EZT150) that keep sewer gases out even with a dry trap:

http://www.rectorseal.com/index.php/waterless-kits/

It includes easy access cleanout ports and could be installed above an existing trap for double protection.

Lori

Crimeny. I read the ENTIRE comment thread hoping SOMEBODY would finally answer your question of what algaecide tablet to buy and no such luck. Lots of stuff about Legionnaire's disease, though. (good grief).

We rent a condo, are on the 3rd floor,and have a sputtery window A/C unit leading us to want to treat that standing water in the condensate pan.

Can anybody recommend a specific product/ place to purchase?

Thanks!

(the hand licking comment post-bathroom trip cracked me up good!!)

Ken

I have noticed water dripping from a PVC pipe located above our outside AC unit (Central AC). I see homes around us where it drips and it turns all rusty and they just seem to ignore it. The pipe that drips is under the soffit. Is that the pipe that I need to vacuum out??

Richard P

Usually condensate coming from a PVC pipe in the soffit is from your secondary emergency overflow pan or drain and is not normal. It would indicate your normal condensate drain is blocked. Next problem could be water from the ceiling so it needs to be checked.

Ken

I have noticed water dripping from a PVC pipe located above our outside AC unit (Central AC). I see homes around us where it drips and it turns all rusty and they just seem to ignore it. The pipe that drips is under the soffit. Is that the pipe that I need to vacuum out??

Richard P

Usually condensate coming from a PVC pipe in the soffit is from your secondary emergency overflow pan or drain and is not normal. It would indicate your normal condensate drain is blocked. Next problem could be water from the ceiling so it needs to be checked.

Michael B

We have 2 HVAC Units in our finished basement (where we reside several hours per day) that drain into a sump pit. One is inches away from the pit; the other is approx. 50 feet away. Other than condensate from the HVAC units, this pit never has any other water in it. So the condensate that runs into the pit is never expelled. The, sump pit would seem to be a prefect mold breeding ground. Hence, my search for a way to keep both the (under the floor) 50&rsquo; drain pipe and pit as mold free as possible. Is there some sort of product/solution &ndash; e.g. bleach, peroxide etc. that could be safely run through the drain pipe and poured into the sump pit to prevent mold growth? Safe as in non-harmful to the sump pump, the PVC drain pipe and human health?