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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Nov 19, 2020

Mike Klokus and Corey Cruz from Kalos come on the podcast to talk about drain cleaning. They discuss their tips and some best practices.

Approximately 50% of the calls in the light commercial division have to do with drains, and drain cleaning is a common PM procedure. The procedure starts off when you pull the panel off the air handler and look in the drain pan. Muck can accumulate in the pan and in the back and side channels. Pay attention to the unit orientation and the drain pitch before you even start cleaning. If you need to get underneath the channels, you can use bottle brushes.

Dedicated drains are associated with only one unit. However, communal drains have multiple units running into a single drain line and have a special set of considerations. You don't want to pour something caustic into the common drain and have it overflow on the lower levels. It's also best to know where the drain leads; you don't want chemicals to wash out into a garden. Water can also create a slippery surface and cause someone to fall.

Generally, the top 3 drain cleaning methods use a shop vacuum, compressed air, or plain water; each one has its place, but they also have drawbacks. While water is ideal for cleaning, it's not always available and practical. Shop vacs are good, but the suction is limited. Compressed air is better at unclogging than cleaning, and it can cause you to blow away piping if there's a loose pipe fitting.

Mike, Corey, and Bryan also discuss:

  • Condensate safeties
  • Using shop vacs and extensions
  • Weight in the drain pan
  • Cleaning with chemicals
  • Copper vs. aluminum for bacterial zoogloea
  • Priming the drain line
  • Condensate assembly cleanings in residential HVAC
  • Capping vents (don't do it)

Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.

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