What is a condensate drain pan and where is it located?

A condensate drain pan is located below your water coil. The coil is a square or rectangular shape device that is made up of rows of copper piping running through layers of aluminum fins. Its exact location depends on the type/model of fan coil installation in your home.

·         Draw through Vertical fan coil

The coil and pan are in the lower section of the cabinet. The blower assembly is above, drawing the air through the coil assembly. Typically, the pan is visible by removing just the air filter.

·         Blow through Vertical fan coil

The coil and pan are in the middle/upper section of the cabinet. The blower assembly is below, blowing air through the coil assembly. Typically, the pan is only visible after removing the front baffle or access panel.


The primary purpose of the condensate drain pan is to collect water that results from the air conditioning process. From where does this water come?

Whenever the thermostat is turned on for air conditioning, the coil fills with cold water (7C 45F) from the building supply. The coil drops to very low temperatures, growing cold.

Warm moist air from inside the home enters from the supply opening in the access door. It then passes through the air filter and through the coil. This is where a heat transfer takes place. Moisture and heat are pulled from the air. Cooled air is then pushed through the air ducts and into your home.

As this process repeats, water results from the heat transfer. It’s like a glass of ice water on a hot day. After just a moment, the glass is covered in beads of water. In the same way, tiny water droplets collect. Water slips down the sides of the coil and right into the condensate pan fitted below.

This process continues until the air conditioning is turned off. To safely remove excess water, the condensate drain pan is installed to catch water that drips off the coil. Then, from the pan a condensate line (drain hose) moves water out of the unit to the main condensate riser of the building. Emptying to an external location.


How does the condensate drain pan fail?

Unfortunately, the condensate drain pan can fail. Over time the very moisture it is designed to remove will erode the coatings and react with the metal causing corrosion. As well years of service (cleaning, repairs) will cause “wear and tear”. This will lead to perforations in the pan, causing it to leak.

Improper maintenance or lack of will lead to debris and buildup in your pan. It is crucial that your fan coils drain pan is regularly inspected prior and during cooling season (summer months) Regular replacement of your air filter will also aid in prevention of buildup.

A clogged condensate line, a rusted condensate drain pan, or a soggy furnace can lead to many unwanted issues. This includes:

·         Microbiological growth (mold)

·         Safety hazards

·         Low indoor air quality

·         Internal buildup

·         AC repairs

·         Smelly air

·         Water damage to the home

Homeowners who find water pooling anywhere around their central air system should contact their HVAC specialist. Quickly finding repairs saves time, money and trouble that could avoid more permanent and serious damages.

 Condensate Drain Pan Services

Call for quotation on flood prevention devices, moisture alarms, pan replacement and complete unit retrofit/replacement options. If you have already experienced flooding JPS Canada are fully trained and certified for water/mold remediation.

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