Air conditioning (HVAC), and plumbing (which involves water supply/drainage lines and connected fixtures), are two separate systems. Most people don’t realize there’s any connection between them. However, HVAC and plumbing do interact, meaning the performance of one can affect the other.
The drainage line for your HVAC system is the most common interaction point between it and your plumbing. It collects condensate from humidity (via the condensate pan under the indoor air handler). In some systems, the condensate drainage line delivers water directly to the sewer line. But usually, condensation drains via a line through an exterior wall and to the ground. The line may also be plumbed into an upstairs sink or another part of your plumbing system.
The following issues can arise due to HVAC/plumbing drainage issues:
A condensate drain can also become clogged. This problem can be identified when you don’t see the drain dripping when the AC is on. If the condensate line and a different part of your plumbing system are both clogged, a backup can occur. For example, if the HVAC condensate drain is tied to a sink, that sink may start draining slowly.
While the condensate drain can be cleaned by pouring a half-cup of vinegar into it, don’t attempt this too often. If the drain continues to clog up, have an HVAC technician look at it. Another issue is when there’s drainage and your air conditioner is not running.
A compressor problem, low refrigerant, or poor maintenance (leading to dirty coils, clogged filters, etc.) can affect HVAC performance. Your heating system plays a role in keeping your plumbing warm as it does the interior of rooms. If it gets cold enough in your home, pipes could potentially freeze during the winter (especially if they’re installed within exterior walls).
However, a more common issue is when the pipes in your AC system freeze. Since plumbing does not provide ventilation, it’s not going to help HVAC components warm up. If it’s too cold, pipes will continue to freeze and potentially crack and fail.
Often made of PVC tubing, condensation lines are prone to the same issues as water supply lines. They can be affected by cracks, broken joints, and ruptures. The effect is more subtle since the contents of an HVAC condensate line aren’t under pressure. Water exits a damaged line slowly and signs of an issue may develop incrementally over time.
Different licensing and certifications are required to service either an HVAC or plumbing system. Air conditioning and heating systems need maintenance at least once or twice a year. Their mechanical nature means they’re highly prone to wear. But plumbing is always in high demand as well, and the presence of water means corrosion, clogs, or limescale can develop. A plumbing or HVAC failure can be costly to resolve. And, both are critically important to the function, comfort, and safety of your home.
We specialize in residential and commercial HVAC and plumbing services. Customers throughout Southern California can depend on us for 24/7 emergency service and heating, air conditioning, and plumbing installation, repair, and maintenance. To get started, book an appointment online or call 833-729-9735 today.