What is that Pipe Sticking Down from My Soffit?
Have you ever noticed that pipe sticking down from your soffit, or sticking out of your wall above your first floor? In most cases this pipe terminates over either a window or a door. It seems like a strange location for a pipe, right? Have you ever wondered what it is? Well, this is an important part of your air conditioning system; the pipe is called the Secondary Condensate Line.
You feel comfortable walking into your house in the summer because the air conditioning system lowers both the temperature and the humidity in the house. In order to lower the humidity, the evaporator, usually located in the attic, turns water vapor in the air into liquid condensate and lowers the humidity in the house. This condensate has to go somewhere, and it usually travels through the Primary Condensate Line. You may have noticed a flexible black pipe or a rigid PVC pipe entering the tail pipe of a bathroom sink just above the P-Trap; this is the termination point of the Primary Condensate Line.
The condensate taken from the air in your house travels into the sewer system without any intervention from you. That is, until the Primary Condensate Line gets clogged. Then, the condensate exits the house through the Secondary Condensate Line, also called the Emergency Condensate Line. If you notice water dripping from this line, you now know the Primary Condensate Line is clogged, and should call a HVAC technician to unclog the line, or unclog it yourself. The Secondary Condensate Line usually terminates above a window or door so you will notice it and take steps to unclog the Primary Condensate Line.