Updated: February 2024

With record snowfall in the last day in the Portland metro area, many homeowners and business owners are finding ways to stay warm and keep their furnace working at peak efficiency. If your furnace stops working, it can be a real nightmare. The good news is: if you just have a frozen condensate drain, you can probably fix it yourself. Here’s how.

#1: Find the condensate drain.
The condensate line drains condensation that is made by your HVAC system out of your home or building. It usually looks like a white PVC pipe. Its often located on an exterior wall from the inside to the outside. Sometimes it’s  near the condenser. Once you find it, check to see if the water inside is frozen. If it is, it can’t drain like it’s supposed to, so it will turn off until the water is melted and cleared.
condensate drain

#2: Clear the drain.
Before you do anything, make sure the furnace is shut off at the fuse box. One way you can clear the drain is by slowly pouring hot water (not boiling, as this could crack the pipe) over the drain until the ice melts. Do this as many times as you need for the line to defrost. You could also try connecting a hair dryer to an extension cord and using it to warm the line until the ice melts. Don’t do this if it’s raining or snowing, as this could be dangerous. If you have a space heater, you can also plug it in and place it next to the drain to slowly warm it. Be sure not to leave the heater unattended, and don’t use it if it’s raining or snowing. Keep in mind that if temperatures continue to remain at the freezing level, you may need to repeat this process a couple of times.

#3: Turn the furnace back on.
Once the water inside the drain is melted, you can turn the furnace back on at the fuse box. If it doesn’t work, try checking to ensure everything is cleared in the pipe. If it is and the furnace still doesn’t work, you may have another problem that may need to be addressed by a trained HVAC professional.

If you don’t want to attempt fixing your condensate drain, or if you think there is something else that could be causing an issue, call our experts at Specialty Heating and Cooling! We will work to find you an appointment as soon as possible, so you can be back to staying comfortable and warm for the duration of this cold snap.

Contact Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC today!

company icon