What to Do if Your Air Conditioner Drip Pan is Full of Rust

As a homeowner, you know that finding water where it is not supposed to can be a bad sign. When it comes to your air conditioner’s drip pan, the presence of water can indicate a clogged condensate drain line. 

If your drip pan is full of water, it usually means that the drainpipe is clogged, and when not taken care of promptly it can cause your HVAC system to shut down. There is an easy fix though, so not to worry! 

Here is why your drip pan is full of rust, and what you can do to fix it! 

What Does a Drip Pan Do? 

Your AC system contains a drainpipe that is designed to remove excess water from the evaporator coil. The moisture flows through the drainpipe and out of your home. Your drip pan serves as a reservoir that catches the water from the evaporator coil and shuttles it to the drainpipe. 

If it gets clogged by algae or bacteria buildup or fails, the water will not be able to drain properly and your HVAC system will activate the emergency shut-off mechanism, causing your AC to shut off before it has properly cooled your home. 

The most common reason why drip pans fill with water is algae or bacteria buildup in the drainpipe. A

Why is the Drip Pan Rusty? 

Wherever there is water and metal, there is an opportunity for rust to form. If water is allowed to sit in the drip pan or is not properly maintained, it can cause the pan to leak. 

If your drip pan looks rusty, orange, or is corroded, you may have:

  • A blocked line
  • A condensate pipe leak
  • A condensate drip pan leak 

If this is the case, you will want to call Super Heat & Air to inspect the system and see if any of the lines need to be replaced. 

The Fix 

An easy way to prevent rust and leakage is to have a preventative coating like PAN SEAL applied to the drip pan to seal and repair any holes that are causing leaks. 

By sealing your drip pan, you can reduce the chances of rust and water leakage, and other serious issues such as mold, fungus, or mildew. Mold infestations can lead to poor air quality and respiratory health conditions for your family. 

If your drain pan is leaking in any way, or cannot be repaired, it needs to be replaced. If you know the dimensions of the drain pan, you can purchase one at a home improvement store or contact a technician from Super Heat & Air to replace the drain pan for you. 

How to Fix a Clogged Drainpipe 

While our techs at Super Heat & Air are always happy to help, a clogged drainpipe can usually be fixed without professional help. 

Follow these steps:

  • Turn the AC off
  • Empty the drain pan using a wet/dry vacuum
  • Remove any debris from around the drain 
  • Inspect the pan for any rust 
  • Check the end of the drainpipe which is located outside of your home to ensure that nothing is blocking it. 
  • Remove the cap from the top of the drainpipe and clear the blockage with a small wire brush. 
  • When the pipe appears to be clear, pour a cup of bleach and water into the drip pan. This will help prevent algae from growing back anytime soon. 
  • Replace the cap and turn your AC back on. 
  • It should be all clear and running smoothly again! 

Prevent Rust: Schedule Preventative Maintenance 

Instead of coming home to an inconvenient surprise like a flooded pan or a broken-down AC system, schedule a preventative maintenance visit with a licensed HVAC tech from Super Heat & Air today — (813) 981-7631!

We will inspect your drainpipe to ensure that it is clear and ensure that your air conditioner is running smoothly and efficiently.