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I found my thermostat not working. After googling for a solution, I found that I may need to check my emergency cut-off.

I know of a pipe that if tripped will turn-off the A/C, so I took the pipe cleaner did some plunging and attempted to clear it out. After doing so, the thermostat turned back on and my system started working again.

Did I do the right thing? What kind of maintenance could I do at home to avoid this cut-off?

I'm a novice at HVAC, I can identify only the heat pump and thermostat!

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Included photo of pipe in question.

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A picture of what you did would help. I'm not sure what pipe you are referring to. –  BMitch Jun 9 '11 at 15:57
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@B Mitch: Sounds like he's referring to the Condensate drain line (but I could be mistaken). –  Tester101 Jun 9 '11 at 16:34
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The answers to this question Air Conditioning with Heat Pump Maintenance Question might be of interest. –  Tester101 Jun 9 '11 at 17:20
    
@Tester101 - I believe it is the Condensate drain, but not the part that exits the house. I apologize, I'm not very informed in A/C anatomy. Honestly, it looks like clear pea-trap. –  John Giotta Jun 9 '11 at 20:43
    
@Tester101 - Included a photo –  John Giotta Jun 9 '11 at 23:46
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Ok, that appears to be the condensation drain pipe. If you notice above the trap, you will likely have a removable cap. I pour a small bit of bleach in that trap every year to prevent anything from growing and to keep it flowing, but you may need more or more often depending on your location.

The other key self maintenance step is to replace your filters regularly. The thin blue fiberglass filters that are likely installed at the air handler will probably make it a year. My friends refer to them as rock catchers since they hardly do anything to catch dust. The thicker filters that you may have at your air returns should be changed more often, possibly monthly, depending on how much dust you have in your home.

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Thanks B Mitch. So cleaning it with the brush, the way I did, was right thing to do? –  John Giotta Jun 10 '11 at 17:32
    
Shouldn't hurt, it's just a drain. Only thing I'd make sure of is that you aren't pushing anything that's growing back into your AC unit. –  BMitch Jun 10 '11 at 19:11
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