How to Unclog an Air conditioner Drain

Wondering how to unclog an air conditioner drain? A clog in this seemingly insignificant drainpipe could lead to thousands of dollars worth of water damage to your home. The good news is that simple regular maintenance can keep the AC drain running freely.

How To Unclog An Air Conditioner Drain Simply

Located in your attic or basement are the evaporator coils for your air conditioning unit. As these coils cool the air, they produce condensation. Typically, this condensation is collected in a metal pan underneath the evaporator coil unit. The condensate pan has a drainpipe (usually ¾" PVC) that carries the condensation water out and away from your home. Over time, the air conditioner drain can become clogged with a build-up of mold or mildew. When the drain is clogged, condensation will quickly overwhelm the condensate pan and begin to spill over, causing water damage to other parts of your home. Here's how to avoid an annoying and costly cleanup:

  • Clearing the lines. The easiest way to unclog an air conditioner drain is with a wet/dry vacuum. First, locate the outside end of the pipe around the perimeter of your home. Next, attach a wet/dry vacuum to the end of the pipe-you may have to use duct tape to create a good seal between the vacuum hose and the pipe. Remove the filter from your vacuum so it doesn't get wet and then run the vacuum to pull the clog out of the pipe.
  • Attacking from the other end. If you have access to an air compressor and can get it into the area near the evaporator coil, you can blow the clog out from the inside end. Simply remove the drain cap (if present) from the drain line near the condensate pan, attach the air hose and blow until the line is clear.
  • Baby snakes. You can also unclog an air conditioner drain using a small plumbing snake. Before renting or buying a snake, make sure it will fit into the pipe diameter of your AC drain.
  • Let's not do that again. To avoid a clogged air conditioner drain in the future, pour a mixture of one cup water and one cup bleach down the drain once or twice a year. Regular treatment of the Ac drain will keep clog-forming mold from building up in the line.
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