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The Grebe

Central air question

7 posts in this topic

How does one clean out the drip pan on a central air conditioning unit? Does anyone ever do this?

I've looked all over this thing, tried taking apart the housing, but everything seems to be interlocked with some kind of a sheet metal seam...nothing budges even with the screws out?

I happened to look in the vent downstairs and it looked kind of dark, so I took it out and it looks like mold spoors attached to the louvers and the back side of the vent....this can't be anything good!

Condensation drip water in the pan, that doesn't drain away, sitting in the contained, dark, cool area, mixed with slight amounts of dust and stuff to act as a catalyst, seems to me to be a good breeding ground for mold...tried calling the company that put it in, a reputable company, but they never get back to me and other companies aren't interested in giving any advice on a unit they didn't install? Maybe I'll have to take a run over there and talk to someone in person?

Anyone else out there have any similar problems and if so, how did you deal with it? High end filters, Lysol, what? I thought about hosing it out somehow, but the fan and other junk is directly below it? The hose to the drain is clear and draining?

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If it has back pitch you will have to open the plenum/coil box poor some water

in and see where it go's or (use level)

If the coil is in the plenum you will have to shim the coil. Make sure it is sealed

when finished. You don't wont any air going around or under the coil.

If your coil is in a coil box you can try to do the same thing as above, but it may be easer

to raise the back of the box. Shim between furnace an coil box then caulk.

Clean pan with bleach. They make a cleaner for it but it's not available to the

general public.

Most A coils have a flat cover over the ends and they do come OFF.

Didn't say it was easy. The back one (opposite the refrigerant lines) is the one

I would start with. If you can raise the back of the coil up a little and use a mire to see what behind the panel (what holding it in place) may help.

As long as you are going thru all the work you should also clean the coils.

Try simple green cleaner. Dilute it a little and rinse the coil several times.

A small weed sprayer works best.

Im sure I will be in trouble for giving away trade secrets on this. But you asked.

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thanks for the trade secrets fastkaw! even though i am not

the OP. my question is: should this be done every year for

maintenance purposes?



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If your coil is clean and you change your filters AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH

you probably will never have to clean it again.

Remember the old fram oil commercial, Pay me Now or Pay me Later.

If you change your filter once a month you wont have to pay me to

clean you coil. (about $100 bucks)

If coil is draining well give the pan it a shot of bleach water twice a year.

If you have a wet/dry vac suck the A/C drain out once a year.

Bleach water. One cap full to a Gallon (Not a cup full) people think more is better, it is not.

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Fastkaw....Thank you, thank you very much, problem solved thanks to your generousity with information.

You weren't chittin when you said it might be a little hard to get out! The installers had snapped off one of those little screws and what could have been a fairly easy job once I had the input and knowledge of what to do, turned into quite a project.

That one little screw refused to be drilled and I had a he11 of a time getting it out, bending up the seam connection in the process. That stuff is really tight fitting and it took awhile and more then a little swearing to reshape the metal, line up the holes and then get everything back in the slots and's back together the same as it was, now all I have to do is reseal the seams with silicone.

I got alot of junk out of there, duct taped the wet/dry vac to the drain to help things along, hosed out the tray, took your advice and put a tad more pitch on the coils, thus tilting the tray at the same time. The sheetmetal flap at the back of the coils may not have been up high enough?

Wifey didn't want me putting any bleach in there, so I used a liberal dose of Lysol on everything...she felt better about that. Anyways, thanks again.

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The kid had a similar problem. Only thing I would add would be to check out the drain ling/hose and make sure that it's clean. Dog hair was the culprit at the kids house.

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Tom...Thanks, but that was one of the first things we checked before digging into the rest....a person never knows though, one small thing that in most cases would be obvious, can be over looked and put everything into a tailspin! Like I stated earlier, that one tiny little piece of busted off screw created all kinds of headaches! It's all good now and everything is comming up roses...I mean Lysol. smile

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