Condensate lines are essential when you want to have a great working AC system. It keeps the water away from unwanted places when your unit leaks some water. It often gets wrongly installed though. You also have to find where to run it. Let’s take a look at the best way to do this.
You should check the manual of your unit and the local code to make sure that it works for your system. When in doubt, you can reach out to the manufacturer or call a technician to help you out. Small mistakes such as forgetting to add a cap can result in a problem.
Get a P-trap
P-traps make sure that water doesn’t flow back into the system. They also hold smells and dirt. This is a cheap part and can be bought in every hardware store. While it is not always required to use one, it is often recommended. Given the low cost of it, getting a p-trap installed in your condensate drain line is a great idea.
This part is often made out of PVC and can simply be glued together. Just make sure that you get the right diameter and you are good to go. It is also possible to get systems that don’t need glue. The fittings are connected by turning them into each other. Some systems allow you to push pieces together. This is very easy to do.
You will need a second P-trap for the secondary drain. During hot summers it might be needed to add some water in the p-trap to keep some water in it. Dry p-traps can start to smell and don’t work that well anymore.
Get a drain pan for the drain line
The AC unit is placed inside a drain pan. This collects the water and is sloped to make it easy to remove the water. Make sure that the drain pan is big enough. Open up the holes in the drain pan. This allows you to install the main and secondary drains. The secondary drain is a backup system for when the main drain doesn’t work properly. Given that leaks can cause a lot of damage, it is interesting to have some redundancy.
Make sure that the drain pan is installed on a flat surface. You can use a leveling tool to double-check.
Drain pans are often made out of metal or plastic and can last a long time. If they have standing water, they might break down though, so this is another reason to make sure that the condensate drain line is properly connected. Replacing a drain pan can be difficult so it is best to check if it contains water every 4 months to make sure that there is no problem. This also makes sure that your AC doesn’t get soaked.
Get a vent installed
A vent is simply a piece of pipe that allows air to enter int your drain line. This makes sure that water doesn’t get stuck. Air and water mix in your drain and this allows gravity to do its work and push the water away. This piece of pipe comes after the P-trap. You might want to install a filter on top of it so that dirt doesn’t get in the drain pipe.
The secondary drain doesn’t need a vent.
Connecting to your drain
The last step is to connect it to your drains so that the water can flow away. Make sure that it gets connected to the correct drain so that you don’t mix the wrong types of water. Adding a cleanout port can make it easy to fix clogs. In some areas, you can dump the water outside and you don’t need a connection to the drain. Make sure to do it far enough from your house as water can have nasty effects on your foundation. 15 feet is often recommended.
To conclude, we can state that installing an AC condensate drain line is quite straightforward. You just need to have the right pieces and connect them properly. It is essential that you work on both the primary and secondary drains so that they don’t create pressure problems. A good working system requires that both are connected.
Where to install the AC condensate drain?
The drains have to be sloped so that the water has enough speed to get out of the pipes. At the same time, the slope shouldn’t be too big as this can leave debris. Most drains run at an angle of about 5 degrees. This can affect where you can run the pipe. You have to look at where it can enter the drain and use the slope to determine where you can place your AC and run the condensation line. You can increase the height of your AC if needed. The condensation drain line shouldn’t be too long. These 2 variables: the slope and distance to the draining affect where you can run the drain line.
In some instances, this is a problem and people get creative (for example adding flexible hoses). This might not be up to code and the inspector might flag this. It can also cause issues when there is damage as some insurance companies might notice the faulty installation and refuse disbursements. It might be needed to expand your drain systems or find a way to drain the water in your garden if this is allowed by your local code.
People often underestimate how much water can come out of a broken AC system. For this reason, it is essential that you install it properly. In a few minutes, a lot of water can be built up if it is not done correctly. This can damage your home, electricity, and the AC, leading to expensive repairs.
Not enough attention is being paid to installing this in the correct way. It can lead to a lot of damage and problems so make sure that you get it right. You can get kits that offer all the required pieces so installing it can take less than 15 minutes.
Window AC drain line
Window AC drain lines are often flexible. Check your local code to see what is allowed. Don’t place these over electric components as water might leak into them. Run them under windows. Don’t run them over doors or where people walk under. The goal is to avoid areas that can get damaged. Running it over plants and trees is often the best option.
You should also avoid running it near electrical lines. Drains can drip or leak and over time this can cause damage. This is also why you should flush the water away from your house. A lot of people don’t do this and it can result in water splash damage. Just extend the line. It is not always allowed to dispose of the condensate in your garden. Often it has to be connected to your plumbing system.
Check the manual for more tips.