A puddle of water on the ground near your air conditioner is one of the first and most obvious signs that your drain line is stopped up. A clogged AC drain line is no joke because it can cause extensive water damage to your home, including mold and weakening your structural foundation.
If you think your AC drain line is clogged, follow the tips below to see if you can fix it yourself. If you can’t clear the clog, or if you’re too nervous to try, no problem! Give our team at Ambient Edge a call, and we’ll be glad to fix it for you.
What Does an AC Drain Line Do?
When your air conditioner is on, it reduces the humidity in the room by pulling the moisture out of the indoor air. As it collects this moisture, the water drips into the condensate pan. From there, the water should travel down the drain line or condensate drain and out of the unit.
If a clog occurs, the water will back up and potentially cause damage to your air conditioner and your home.
What Are the Symptoms of a Clogged AC Drain Line?
One of the most obvious signs is a puddle of water in your AC’s drain pan, which proves the water isn’t draining as it should. Other signs include:
- Standing water near your air conditioner’s condenser unit
- A moldy smell around the drain or from your system’s vents and registers
- Water damage around the unit
- An air conditioner that shuts off unexpectedly
- An HVAC system that is not effectively cooling your home
Causes of Clogs in AC Drain Lines
You may wonder how an AC drain line gets clogged? Especially when all it does is pump out cold air all day?
When moisture drips off of the AC’s evaporator coil, it can bring along with it any dirt or debris it picks up on its way down the drain. If enough dirt and debris pass through, the air conditioner’s drain line can develop a clog over time.
Because of the constant moisture in the drain line, algae or mold can also begin to form. If allowed to build up, it can coat the inside of the pipes and prevent water from draining as it should.
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Unclogging the AC Drain Line with a Wet/Dry Vacuum
The good news is that you should be able to unclog your AC’s drain line in as little as five minutes with a wet/dry vacuum. To remove the clog, you’ll need to:
- Turn off your air conditioner if it is still running
- Find the drain line’s access and runoff. This is a PVC pipe located near the AC’s outdoor unit
- Attach the vacuum’s hose to the end of the drain line
- Wrap a towel or duct tape around the mouth of your wet/dry vac to create a seal
- Run the vacuum for one to two minutes, and the clog should come right out. You’ll know you were successful if you see brown water in your vacuum
How to Clear an AC Drain Line with a Garden Hose
If you don’t have a wet/dry vac, you can try to unclog your AC’s drain line using a garden hose instead.
- Attach one end of the garden hose to a spigot
- Attach the other end of the hose to your AC’s condensate drain
- Turn the water on at the spigot as high as it will go for maximum pressure
- Let the water run for five seconds, then turn it off
- Repeat these steps a few times, and the clog should loosen
If this process does not successfully clear the clog, you’ll need a professional to come and take a look.
How Can I Prevent Drain Line Clogs?
Preventing future clogs in your AC’s drain line is even simpler than clearing the line. To prevent clogs caused by algae or mold, all you need to do is pour a cup of bleach down the condensate drain from the inside each spring.
The bleach will control mold, mildew, and algae growth and keep water in your air conditioner’s condensate line moving freely.
Also, be sure to use high-quality HVAC air filters to trap debris and prevent it from forming a clog. When air filters are dirty, they cannot do their jobs effectively, and more impurities run through the line. Clean and replace your filter at least once every three months, or more frequently if you have pets, allergies, or if someone in the home is a smoker.
Can You Clear an AC Drain Line Clog on Your Own?
You can take steps to clear an AC drain without professional help. Doing so, however, can put your AC unit at risk for damage. If you’ve never cleared an AC drain line, consider calling in a professional to help you through the process.
Professional AC technicians often have the tools you need to safely remove clogs from your AC’s drain line. These parties can clear away clogs without compromising the structural integrity of your drain line or the rest of your unit. What’s more, if these parties damage your unit, they may have the insurance to replace it or otherwise repair the damage done.
If nothing else, consider requesting that an AC technician come out and inspect your AC drain line if you suspect it to be clogged. You can even schedule regular AC assessments to stay on top of any clogs or other forms of damage that might hinder your AC unit’s efforts in the future.
Working With Professionals Can Protect Your AC Drain Line in The Long-Term
If you have the opportunity to schedule regular AC unit inspections and/or maintenance, consider setting dates as soon as you can. Professionals don’t need to repair your AC each time they come out to your home but rather can ensure that your unit is still in working order before big seasonal changes.
It’s often in your best interest to request an HVAC professional’s time in the early spring and early fall. These timely inspections can help you get ahead of any seasonal damage that might make it more difficult to heat or cool your home.
For more information on how to prevent your AC drain line from clogging or when you can schedule biannual AC inspections, you can reach out to your local HVAC technician.
If Your AC Drain Line Is Clogged, Ambient Edge Can Help!
Sometimes, an AC unit’s drain clog is just too big to get out by yourself. If you find yourself in this situation, give Ambient Edge a call. We have decades of experience working with virtually every HVAC system make and model, and clogs are one of our specialties!
No job is too small for Ambient Edge, and we offer all our customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all our parts and labor. So, if your AC drain line stopped up, drop us a line on our website or give us a call to schedule service today.