How to Unclog Air Conditioner Drain Lines

HVAC tips in Concord, NC

One of the most important parts of an AC is the drain line, also referred to as a condensate drain line. The drain line is used to collect moisture near the AC’s evaporator coil. Over time, they become clogged due to dirt and debris build-up, which affects the function of the AC and even lowers indoor air quality.

A clogged drain line can cause the AC to freeze internally, making it difficult to deliver cool air. Drain lines play a vital role in the performance of any AC: this means you need to know how to identify a clogged drain line and how to unclog it.

Identifying a Clogged Drain Line

Technology has made it easier for homeowners and HVAC Service companies to identify problems with an AC system. Some of the latest models are fitted with sensors to alert you or the technician of a clogged drain line. This way, you can unclog the drains before the problem gets out of hand. However, for older models without sensors, you need to rely on signs and physical inspections to know if the AC drain line is clogged. Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Standing water near the indoor unit
  • Musty, moldy smell in the air from the vents or near the indoor unit
  • The AC is not cooling your home
  • When the AC doesn’t turn on or shuts down unexpectedly

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to contact an HVAC expert. This way, you can get professional help unclogging your AC drain lines without causing more damage to the unit. Here is what to expect from the technician when clearing your ac drain lines.

Unclogging AC Drain Lines

You can choose to approach this as a DIY project or get a professional from reputable firms such as All Temp Co., Inc Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing, & Electrical to get the job done. The best part about working with a professional is that you can access all the tools and techniques needed to get the job done fast and efficiently. If you decide to DIY, you will need:

  • Duct tape
  • Bleach
  • A wet/dry vacuum
  • Rubber gloves

With everything ready for cleaning and unclogging the drain lines, it’s time to get down to business. Here are a few steps to follow to unclog your condensate drain line.

Power Off the AC Unit

The first and most important step is to power off the AC and switch off the power supply to the AC unit. The power supply should be turned off even if the AC is not running to be safe. This move is meant to protect the technician and the unit from further condensate-related damage.

Check the Drain Pan

One of the signs of a clogged AC drain line is water on the drain pan. Before unclogging the drain lines, the technician checks the drain pan for standing water. If there is a lot of water, it’s drained using a wet vacuum or rag. The drain pan is thoroughly cleaned to prevent mold growth.

Unclog the Drain Line

To unclog the drain lines, you need to locate the drain line, which is mostly located close to the evaporator unit. Physically inspect the drain pipe and remove debris, dirt, and any other materials that could be clogging the drain lines. You can use a dry vacuum to remove all the materials before pushing a stiff, thin wire brush through the pipes. To check if the drain lines are clear, pour a small amount of clean water through the pipes and check its ability to flow out. You should expect to see clean, clear water as an indication that all dirt and debris have been cleared.

Clean the Drain Line

Once the dirt and blockage have been cleared, it’s time to clean the drain pipe. Here, you will need a commercially approved cleaner or bleach designed for cleaning PVC pipes. An expert will help you choose suitable cleaning compounds for your drain lines. You can as well use distilled vinegar to clean your drain lines in between routine maintenance.

Reassemble the Unit

Once the drain lines are thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to reassemble and install any removed parts and power up the unit. Check if the unit is operating optimally.

A clogged drain line interferes with the functioning of your AC unit and even affects indoor air quality. It’s advisable to carry out routine inspection and maintenance on your unit to ensure everything I working correctly. At All Temp Co., Inc Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing, & Electrical, we believe our clients in Concord, Harrisburg, and the surrounding areas deserve quality services. Aside from unclogging drain lines, we also install cooling systems, ductless systems, heating tune-ups, and geothermal heating units. Contact us for more information.