How to Unclog a Clogged AC Drain Line

How to Unclog a Clogged AC Drain Line

In addition to cooling the air inside your home, air conditioners remove humidity. The condensation process draws water vapor from the air. The water that is created is directed outside your home by a drain line attached to your AC.

In order for the system to work properly, the drain line needs to be free of obstructions. Your air conditioner’s drain line can become clogged from a buildup of algae, improperly placed piping, or an insect building a nest inside.

If the drain line is clogged, the condensation may leak and cause water damage or accumulate inside the drip pan. A safety sensor switch inside the pan will turn your air conditioning system off when the water level inside the pan reaches a certain height. This prevents water from overflowing the top of the pan. The system will not operate until the water is removed. If the safety switch fails and water overflows the pan, you will need to contact an AC repair technician.

4 Ways to Unclog a Clogged AC Drain Line

If you notice a leak or water accumulating in the drip pan, you can try to perform some DIY AC maintenance. Locate where the drain line exits from inside your home and ensure that it is not obstructed by dirt or other debris. The drain is typically located near the outside unit of your air conditioning system.

Try these four solutions to clearing a clogged AC drain line:

1. Vinegar

After locating the drain line access point, remove the drain plug and pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. Vinegar will also help to kill the algae. Something to keep in mind, for tough clogs this process may take several hours. Repeat this process monthly to keep your condensate drain free of clogs.

For step by step directions on how to do this, check out our blog: How to Clean Your AC Drain Line with Vinegar

2. Shop Vac

Attach the suction hose from the vacuum cleaner to the drain line. Turn on the shop vac until water flows freely into the collection canister. Shut off the vacuum cleaner and empty the collection canister as required.

3. Long Plumbers Snake

Insert the free end of the snake into the drain opening. Work the snake up and down inside the drain line until the obstruction is removed.

4. Garden Hose

Sometimes the force of running water can loosen the clog. Open the fitting, if your system has one, located on the top of the drain line near where it exits the inside unit. Attach the garden hose and gently turn on the water. Be careful, as this method may cause additional leaks if the clog is large.

How to Prevent Future AC Drain Line Clogs

Keeping the drain line as clean as possible should be part of your air conditioner’s preventive AC maintenance. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer then you might be willing to maintain your own unit and using the above steps to help keep your drain line clean is certainly an option. If not, then we’re here to help. Our affordable maintenance plans will help you to save money on your monthly energy bills, extend the life of your AC unit, and improve your home’s air quality.

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