Clearing the condensate drain on a Haier ESA410N air conditioner

Kind of an off topic post for me but I hope with this post that I save someone else some time. No pictures, because I was too busy dealing with the absolute deluge of water coming out of this thing when I was servicing it. I deeply apologize for that (and I’m usually pretty good about taking pictures. Sigh.)

Note: Only do this if you’re confident in your abilities. HVAC stuff is not fun. You have been warned. Be super careful. Also, coil fins are sharp.

To begin you’re going to want to disassemble the unit. There are screws around the perimeter of the unit. Get them all out. The housing should start to feel loose.

You’ll need to get the front off, now. The only trouble I had was with the two top clips. I stuck a flathead screwdriver under one of the corners and slowly moved it inward which released the clips.

After the front’s off, the rest of the housing should just come right off.

There’s two things to note here. Part of the condensate drain is toward the center of the bottom pan, right under the fan motor. You should see a little channel that goes under the big styrofoam chamber. (If you don’t see that channel under a bunch of debris, clean out the bottom pan.) The other thing to note is outward-facing coil/fins. You can peek past the fan blades to get a peek. If these are dirty, you should clean them while you’re in here (I used a garden hose for this. The outside half of the a/c is meant to get wet so don’t worry too much.)

The second half of the condensate drain is in the styrofoam chamber. I’ve made a crude drawing to kinda show you how it’s laid out, pardon my poor artistry:

The red bit to the left is the blower part of the fan, the blue scribbles to the right is the indoor-facing coil. The green dot in the center is where the condensate drain should be. (Accounting for any variances in manufacturing, here.)

It’s likely (if you didn’t somehow drain the unit by moving it) that there’s a bit of standing water here, and it might be all gunked up so you can’t really see past it. I tackled this by getting a long screwdriver and wrapping it up in a ratty towel and just wiping out the chamber and picking up as much of the gunk as I could. In doing this, the drain hole became visible (though it’s easily mistaken for a screw hole). It’s also very likely caked to the brim with gunk.

How I cleaned it out is I stuck a shim between the bottom pan and the bottom half of the styrofoam chamber to lift it up ever so slightly to give my screwdriver more room to dig into the drain hole and break up the gunk. This is why you needed to clean the bottom pan earlier to expose that little channel (assuming it was also caked in gunk like mine was). That’s where this hole flows out to.

(You’ll probably want to move the unit to a place where you don’t mind it pouring water everywhere for this next bit. Or bring lots of towels. You decide.)

Once you’ve broken up/picked up the gunk (I used a thinner towel wrapped around my screwdriver to pick up some of it on the way out), grab some hot, soapy water and pour it into the condensate chamber. What this will hopefully do is flush out the broken up gunk, and you should see it pour out that channel I was talking about. Ew.

If it doesn’t, keep poking around and hopefully you’ll end up breaking up enough of the gunk for it to just flush right out. Can’t really give much advice past this point, because that’s all it took for me. Prodding it enough to break it up, and flushing it. Bam, clean drain hole. It should flow nice and free now.

Hopefully this helped someone. Even one person helped would make writing this worth it. Finding the condensate drain was hell on this particular a/c, some units have it in a very obvious place that’s easy to clear. This one didn’t (and the way it’s designed almost feels like it’ll clog super easy if enough debris manages to get in. Sigh).