1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

August 4, 2008

:217 A/C Condensate Pan

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:217 EcoTip: Air conditioning systems not only cool but help dehumidify air by draining condensed water from their cooling coils. This water is supposed to drain into a condensate pan that is plumbed to dispose it. The pan should be mounted so that it can drain completely to help prevent a build up of organic material and bacteria contamination.


 Additional Information:

The condensation pan for air conditioners is frequently mounted inside the system where it cannot be easily inspected to be sure it is clean and in good condition. In this case ask your service technician if there is a way they can provide you access to check on the unit between service calls.

The following information from EPA provides some guidance for selecting a new system:

  • Specify the following features for all air handling units:
    • Double-sloped drain pan – A double-sloped pan prevents water from standing and stagnating in the pan.
    • Non-corroding drain pan – Made from stainless steel or plastic. Prevents corrosion that would cause water to leak inside the AHU.
    • Easy access doors – All access doors are hinged and use quick release latches that do not require tools to open. Easy access to filters, drain pans, and cooling coils is imperative.
    • Double wall cabinet – The inner wall protects the insulation from moisture and mechanical damage, increases sound dampening, and is easier to clean.

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    January 24, 2008

    :024 Fridge Condensate

    Suggested Review – :005, :019, :022, :023

    Welcome to today’s 1:5:10 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.



    1:5:10:024 Tip: Yesterday I told you how to clean your refrigerators cooling coils. At the same time you should plan on cleaning the condensate pan.

    The condensate pan is used to collect water that drains from the refrigerator during the defrost cycle. The water is collected in a collection pan and then evaporates into the room air. The pan can become quite dirty and support bacteria and mold growth. If you can remove the pan for cleaning, it should be taken outside so that any mold growth it has won’t release spores into the house. Clean the condensate pan frequently enough so that microorganisms don’t have a chance to become established and released indoors.

    Don’t forget to record the energy use in your journal before you clean the coils and condensate pan.

    Tomorrow you will be recording the clean coil energy use, so you can compare the before and after values. I will also talk about the Energy Star Appliance program.


    Additional Information

    In order to clean the condensate pan and cooling coils you may need to remove a protective grill or panel. It is best to check the owners manual for detailed instructions.

    When you reinsert the pan, make sure the drain line is unobstructed and is positioned properly to drain into the pan – otherwise the water may drain out onto the floor, or back up in the unit.


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