How To Clean Your Air Conditioner's Condensate Line… And Keep It Clean

Posted on: 1 November 2016

As your air conditioner cools the air, moisture is removed from the air. You AC unit deals with that moisture by sending it into a little drain pan. Then, it is pumped down a condensate line to a drain that connects to your plumbing system or empties directly into the soil. One of the most common minor issues with air conditioners is a clogged condensate drain line. In fact, if water is pooling on the floor near your AC unit, this is the likely cause. Here's how to unclog the drain line and how to prevent it from clogging again.

Turn off the power: Open your breaker box, and turn off the power supply to your AC unit. Water and electricity do not mix well, and you don't want to risk a shock.

Locate the condensate pan: Usually, the pan is located under or to the side of your air conditioning coil. The pan will probably be full if the drain line is clogged, so dump it out. Give it a good scrub with soap, water, and a little bleach. This will help keep mold from forming, which is really important since mold contributes to main drain line clogs.

Find the drain line: It's the plastic tubing that runs from your condensate pan to the drain.  Usually the tubing is clear. Look down the line, and see if you can spot a clog. If you do see a clog, you can often massage it through the flexible tubing to break it up.

Use a vacuum to loosen tough clogs: If the clog isn't breaking up or you can't see it because the line is not clear, grab a wet-dry vacuum. Place it on suction mode, and put the end of the vacuum over the end of the drain line. Wrap your hands around the place where the two meet to improve the seal. The vacuum should suck out the material that's causing the clog.

Replace the furnace filter. The cleaner you can keep everything in and around your AC, the lower your risk of future clogs will be. Your AC filter is meant to trap grime that comes through the ducts. If it gets too dirty, it won't do its job well. Replace it now, and purchase a few extras so you remember to replace it every month or two going forward.

If your drain pan is still overflowing after you follow these steps, you might have a bigger problem with your pump. Contact a company like Shivani Refrigeration & Air Conditioning for assistance.