How To Unclog An AC Drain Pipe

If you know or have a suspicion that your air conditioner’s drain line is clogged, then this guide on how to unclog an ac drain pipe will help you to remedy the issue. First things first; you will want to make sure that this is indeed the issue at hand so that the problem can be fixed quickly and easily.

Once you know for certain that it was the drain line being clogged that caused the problem, you will need to get the materials necessary to unclog it. Only once you have done these things will you be able to begin unclogging the drain. With that being said, the process of how to unclog an ac drain pipe is relatively simple and straightforward, meaning that your air conditioner will be back to working before you know it.

How To Unclog An AC Drain Pipe

Checking to See If the Drain Line Is Clogged

With some of the newer air conditioning and HVAC units, there will be sensors that will tell you whether or not the drain line is clogged. With these units, checking for a clog is as easy as looking at the unit’s interface. Unfortunately, if you have an older air conditioner or HVAC unit, you will have to check yourself. The telltale sign of a clogged drain line is when the drain pan is full of water. If you know that you have an older air conditioner model, it should become a regular habit for you to check and see if the drain pan is full or not when you change the filter.

If you notice that the drain pan is full of water or that the sensor has gone off telling you that the drain line is clogged, you should begin unclogging it as soon as you can. Leaving a clog in place can not only damage the drain line but it can also lead to water damage if it is left for too long. This water damage can cause a whole lot of trouble for the rest of your unit, meaning that there will be some expensive repairs in the future if you leave a clogged drain line alone.

With that being said, you might also be curious as to why your drain line is clogged, especially when you haven’t done anything to cause such a thing to happen.

What Will You Need?

Of course, you are going to need to gather up the materials necessary to properly clean out your drain line when you are taking care of a clog. First things first; you are going to want to make sure that your hands are well protected from what you will be using. This means that you will want to find a pair of rubber gloves that you feel comfortable using around bleach. Speaking of bleach, you are going to need bleach in this cleaning process as well so it would be a good idea to pick some up. Additionally, you will also want to grab a wet/dry vacuum and some duct tape for this project as well since you will need a way to comfortably work in this area. And finally, you are going to want a stiff, thin wire brush to actually pull the clog out of the drain so that your drain line can work exactly as it is supposed to.

Now that you have all of the materials at the ready, you can begin unclogging the drain line. If you want to be extra sure about some things, you might want to bring a manual for the air conditioner with you so that you can know exactly where you are working. However, this isn’t completely necessary and it is up to you whether you want to have it with you or not.

Unclogging the Drain Line

Whenever you are working with your HVAC unit or your air conditioner, you will want to make sure that it is turned off. This will make it safer for you to work in the area and it will reduce the risk of things going wrong and expensive repairs being on the horizon. This tip isn’t exclusive to unclogging drain lines.

Once your air conditioner is turned off, you will want to find the drain line itself. Generally, they will be located outside of the house, close to where the condenser unit is. This is the main place where having a manual of the unit can be helpful as you won’t have to be wandering around your house as much trying to find where the line is.

When the line has been found, you will want to use the wire brush and push it to the end of the drain line to get rid of any clogs that are closer to the end. There are a few cases where the clog has actually occurred farther down and you will need to make use of the wet/dry vacuum that you brought along with you. In this case, you will want to attach the wet/dry vacuum to the end of the drain line. Tape it securely with duct tape and turn the vacuum on. This should usually drag out any clogs that are located farther down than your wire brush can reach. Leave the vacuum running for about a minute.

After a minute has passed, remove the vacuum and the duct tape from the drain line opening and put them away for the time being. If you notice that the drain pain is full during this process, you might want to use the vacuum to clean that out as well. Bring some soap along with you if you plan to clean out the drain pan so that you get as much grime off of it as possible.

Next, you will want to find the vent tee. The vent tee is a specific pipe that connects the drain line to the drain tray so it shouldn’t be too far from where you are currently working. Once you have located it, you will want to remove the cap from the vent tee and stick the wire brush down it. This will remove any clogs that have formed in the vent tee that the vacuum wasn’t able to reach.

For the final step, you will want to wear your gloves if you don’t already have them on. Pour a mixture of one cup bleach and one cup of water into the top of the drain line so that you can do one last thorough flush to prevent this from happening again soon. The bleach should kill off any algae that is still hoping to stick around. Wait about half an hour after doing this.

Making Sure That Everything Works

To make sure that this has fully worked, you might want to ask another person for help with this. If you don’t have anyone who is willing to help, then you will need to grab a bucket and place it at the end of the drain line. If you do have a helper, then you can ask him or her to stand by the drain line and simply watch it.

Now, go inside and get a container and fill it up with some water but make sure that you are not pouring too much water in the line. Head back to the vent tee and pour that water down. Either go outside and check the bucket or ask the person standing outside if the water came through or not. If the water passes through with no problems and it is approximately the amount that you poured in, then you’re good to go. However, if there is significantly less water or no water at all, it might be time to contact the professionals because you could have a bigger problem on your hands.

Otherwise, there aren’t any better steps to follow on how to unclog an ac drain pipe than the ones explained above!