How to Replace a Condensate Drain Pan

How to Replace a Condensate Drain Pan

As a homeowner, your air conditioner is probably one of the things you’re most thankful for in your home. While it may be easy to take it for granted, once it starts showing signs of damage, it’s enough to make you want to push a panic button. And, while some AC problems do require assistance from a licensed HVAC technician, you can take care of minor issues. Such is the case with replacing the drain pan.

What is a Condensate Drain Pan?

An air conditioner works by absorbing the warm air from your home, removing the moisture, cooling the air, and sending it back into your home through the return vents. When the moisture is removed, water droplets fall into a pan. This pan is called the drain pan. As the pan gets full, a float rises. Once the pan is full, the water is siphoned out of your home through a PVC pipe called a drain line.

When to Replace Your Condensate Drain Pan

Since the drain pan is always wet, it could eventually become rusted, covered in mold, or simply worn down or cracked by regular wear and tear. When any of these scenarios occur, they can cause your air conditioner to leak water.

How to Replace a Condensate Drain Pan in 5 Steps


  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement drain pan


Here’s how to replace a condensate drain pan in five steps:

Step 1. Shut off power to your AC.

Do this as a first step any time you work on your air conditioner, as failing to do so could lead to electrocution.

Step 2. Remove the front panel of the air conditioner.

You can do this without any tools by pulling on the panels with your hands.

Step 3. Inspect the pan.

Sometimes they’re held in place by latches, while other times they’re fastened with screws. You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the pan in place, as well as to loosen the drain tube that goes into the pan.

Step 4. Pull out the drain pan.

Do so slowly. It should come out easily. If it doesn’t, push the drain port toward the air handler (the inside portion of the air conditioner).

Step 5. Slide in the new drain pan.

Make sure to attach it to the drain port as well as the drain tube and drain pipe. Secure everything into place with screws and the air handler clamp if there is one.

Also, to ensure that your air conditioner works as efficiently as possible, perform or schedule routine maintenance checks. Doing so will optimize efficiency, lower your energy bills, and predict minor issues before they become costly problems.

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