How To Clean A Clogged Ac Drain Line
Failing to clean your AC drain line will cause your unit to turn off when it’s clogged and potentially cause water to pour out onto the ground.
So you definitely need to be cleaning your AC drain line regularly.
But what is the best way to do it? Well, here is how we do it when we perform an annual AC maintenance for our customers.
Attempt To manually Clear any blockage
The first thing you should do is to use your hands to manually clear blockage. Find the end of your drain line and make sure it’s not clogged. Reach your fingers inside and attempt to clear away debris.
Use A Shop Vac And Water
Next, connect your shop vac hose to the end of your drain line . If the hose connects loosely, you can use a cloth or duct tape to create an airtight seal. Turn the vacuum on.
At the same time, get a gallon jug of water and a funnel. Slowly pour water into the drain line access point near your air handler. The shop vac should suck the water out of your drain line and into your vacuum.
Be careful because if the clog does not loosen, water will back up into your drain line and potentially leak onto the floor.
Pour warm water into the AC drain line access hole near your indoor air handler.
Connect your shop vac onto the end of your AC drain line and turn it on.
Use A Drain Snake
Rebuild The Drain Line
Slime from a clogged drain line
Drain Snake Features And Accessories
Drain snakes and augers come with clog-busting features. Or you can add accessories to handle the project better. Here are a few:
- At the end of the drain snake cable, there will be a head that is intended either for pulling or cutting. Drain snakes with a coil head or a toothed head can pull the clog out of the drain. A coil or toothed head is usually enough to clear most household clogs in drains and toilets.
- A cutting head has a blade that can push through thick clogs like grease, food, leaves or mud. More powerful drain snakes and augers have cutting heads, which are not usually needed for small household clogs.
- Many of the hand-crank, battery-operated and electric drain snakes also feature additional accessories and drain cleaning tools. The various shapes of the tools make a single snake suitable for a variety of applications.
Maintain Your Drain Lines
One simple but particularly important practice is to ensure that the drain line slants towards the ground. Check the drain line coming from the system to ensure that it is slanting at a good angle. This will prevent stagnant water from forming inside.
If the standing water stays inside your lines for a long time, it causes the growth of bacteria and mold. Also, condensate drain will not occur properly if the drain line.
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Manually Clear Any Blockage
You can use air pressure or water pressure to attempt to clean your drain line. For example, you can take your garden hose when water pressure and direct it inside the lines. The pressure of the water may be enough to break down the clog and remove the condensate.
Also, you can push some compressed air through the lines. However, if this fails, you may resort to snaking your lines.
Alternatively, you can use warm soapy water or even vinegar water to remove the clogs from your drain. You may then use a thin wire brush to clean the clogged ac drain line.
Tablets Can Break Down Problematic Fungi
A helpful agent in keeping drain lines clear is the drain pan tablet. Typically, you get 200 tablets per bottle.
Just pop one in your drain pan after changing your filters. It is designed to break down algae and gunk before it has a chance to clog your drain line.
Be sure to keep the bottle tightly sealed so that moisture from the air doesnt ruin the remaining tablets.
Warning: after one year, they tend to lose some of their potency, so you may need to use several at once to get the same degree of decomposition.
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Join Our Comfort Club Preventative Maintenance Program
If all of this sounds “nice”, but you just don’t have the time or desire to do this on a regular basis, then we invite you to sign up for our Comfort Club annual AC preventative maintenance program.
We’ll come to your house once or twice a year and do a complete tune-up on your system. This always includes cleaning the drain line.
And if you choose to sign up for the twice a year plan, then we will always come unclog your drain line for free, which can end up saving you a lot of money 291-1644 to sign up).
Join Our Comfort Club
Snaking An A/c Drain Line Is Cost
Drain lines in air conditioners are prone to clogging for a variety of reasons, including:
- Filters collect dirt
- Minerals build-up
- Mold and mildew issues
Because you breathe in the mold spores developing in your drain line, this produces a mess and a health threat. You may unclog your drain line by passing a drain snake through it to save money on repair fees.
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When To Replace Your Drain Line
The entire drain line, or parts of it, may need to be replaced in extreme circumstances. If done by a professional, this can be quite costly.
On the other hand, if you dont know what youre doing, doing it yourself could end up costing you more. However, if youre handy with tools, replacing your drain line isnt difficult.
It will most likely work better if you remove the old drain line while it is still in place and use it as a template for the new line.
Remember to provide clean-out access to make routine maintenance more convenient. You can also use a clear rubber trap to detect whether problems are developing before they become a complete blockage. Before performing any type of maintenance or repair, make sure the unit is turned off.
Main Line Drain Clearing Cost
Main sewer line cleaning costs$150 to $800, depending on the method , severity of the clog, accessibility, and labor. The main line is likely clogged when pipes have bad odors or make gurgling sounds, multiple fixtures are draining slowly, or sewage backup.
A professional plumber should always be clear main line clogs. Broken, cracked, or collapsed sewer lines may need replacement. Sewer line repair costs$500 to $4,000, depending on the pipe’s length and accessibility.
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Best Drain Snakes And Augers
No matter how careful you are, at some point youll need to deal with a clogged drain or toilet. Getting rid of the clog quickly and easily begins by understanding the best drain snakes and augers to use for different types of clogs. Being able to clear clogs can keep everything working smoothly. A clogged drain or toilet is often a problem you can solve yourself. When you have the right drain snake, its easier to get your pipes flowing like normal again. You may even be able to avoid calling a plumber.
Read on to learn about the best drain snakes and augers for every type of clog. Plus, find out which tool to use when you have a clogged sink, shower, bathtub or toilet.
Advantages Of Hiring A Professional
Sometimes blockages can occur deep in piping systems. You may not be able to reach them with a simple snake you pick up at the hardware store. Professionals can use techniques like high-pressure water streams, or hydrojetting, to cut through obstacles.
These also have the advantage of completely clearing your pipes of buildup so that they are flowing at full capacity. And they are much safer than augers because high-pressure water will not damage your pipes.
Your clog could be the result of a more serious obstruction, like tree roots. A professional plumber can use special devices to clear these major obstructions.
Another advantage of hiring a professional is that, besides removing the clog, they can ensure that your piping is intact. If they spot potential trouble spots, they can recommend reconstruction of your pipes. Or, if the drains are severely corroded, plumbing specialists may suggest you replace or reline them.
A professional also can assess why the blockage happened in the first place. For instance, an insufficient amount of water flowing through pipes could have something to do with frequent clogs.
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Plumber Cost To Unclog A Toilet
The average cost for a plumber to unclog a toilet is $100 to $275. Plumbers charge depending on if a toilet snake can unblock the clog or if the toilet needs removing to clear the blockage. A toilet snake costs $10 to $30 for DIY jobs.
- If a bad odor persists after snaking the toilet, toilet repair costs$10 to $25 to replace a cracked flange or wax ring. For DIY, a new toilet wax ring costs $2 to $10.
- If backflow is also coming out of other drains, the main sewer line likely needs to be cleared of tree roots and debris, increasing the total cost.
Using Vinegar And Water
Some people believe that it is good to use vinegar to clean their drain lines. However, you should never attempt to use vinegar for this purpose. Using vinegar to clean your drain lines may damage the evaporator coil.
The evaporator coil is a highly delicate component of your system. You can find the evaporator coils deep inside the indoor air handler. Without the evaporator coil, the indoor air handler will not function properly.
In addition, the indoor air handler helps to keep the temperature in your home under control. Thus, using vinegar will inadvertently damage the indoor air handler.
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How Much Is A Plumbing Snake
A handheld or drill-activated plumbing snake costs $15 to $100 and reaches up to 25 feet for minor clogs near the sink basin or toilet. A machine-powered plumbing snake costs $250 to $1,000 on average and reaches 50 to 75 feet for most residential blockages.
*Renting a machine augers typically requires a $100 to $150 deposit.
Machine augers are hard to manage and can damage pipes or pose a risk of injury if misused.
- A drain snake used with too much force can cause the end to flop around, scratching the pipe. Scratches damage the coating, which leads to cracks or rusting in the pipes.
- A drain snakes coil wire can recoil at high speeds, which can cause serious injury.
- If you are unsure how to use a snake, hire a skilled plumber.
Give Yourself A Peephole
Most professionals replace a section of pipe with a clear rubber tube that allows them to see if the water is draining correctly.
Over time, these tubes become coated inside with mold and mildew, making it impossible to see through them.
When you can no longer see through your tube section, it should be replaced. It is important that you keep this window clear so you can tell if water is draining too slowly or not at all.
Periodically, you should observe the flow of water through this tube to tell when a problem is forming without waiting until water is standing everywhere.
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Snaking Your A/c Drain
Here are a few quick steps to snake your A/C drain:
- Open the drain clean-out valve.
- Place the snake here.
- Push it in as far as you can.
- Twist a couple of times to see if you can get through the clog.
- Remove the snake
Before calling a repairman, try a snake. When water or air pressure has failed to break up the clog, a snake is usually utilized.
Drain snakes only function with smooth traps in the traditional sense. These snakes will be unable to negotiate the series of 90-degree turns if the trap is composed of PVC elbows.
Make Sure Gravity Is On Your Side
The drain line coming out of your unit should be slanted at a slight angle toward the ground. This allows the natural force of gravity to pull the condensation out of the trap and down to the exit.
If your line is level, the old water will sit there until new condensation forces it out. This is the perfect environment for:
Slanting the line at even a 5-degree angle will help to keep the water drained off. Less water in the line means less sediment that is cementing itself to the walls of the pipe.
Less sediment means a lower chance of the line clogging, so your unit remains trouble-free for longer.
Of course, this doesnt guarantee that youll never have a clog, but it can help to reduce the frequency.
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What Is A Toilet Auger
You should keep a plunger in each bathroom in your house. Sometimes, though, a plunger isnt enough. When toilets get clogged, a hand-crank toilet snake or auger is the ideal solution.
The best toilet augers feature a vinyl coating over the cable. The vinyl coating will help protect the bowl against scratches and marks as you work. The manual design of these devices allows you to feel the cable as it unwinds through the pipes.
Tip: If you use a drum auger thats not vinyl coated, make sure to use a lubricant spray to prevent the cable from rusting prematurely. This will extend the life of the auger cable, so it flows in and out of the auger easier.
Drain snakes come in manual, mechanical and electric options. However, not all styles are right for every clog. Understanding which snakes or augers work best ensures that youre prepared with the best drain snakes and augers for the project. Every product varies, so read the manufacturers instructions before using a snake for plumbing repairs.
Be ready for plumbing issues with a drain snake. Use The Home Depot Mobile App to locate products and check inventory. We’ll take you to the exact aisle and bay. Or you can consider a drain snake rental to get your project done. Use once, then bring it back – no maintenance required.
When All Else Fails Replace
In extreme cases, the entire drain line or parts of it may need to be replaced. This can be expensive if done by a professional.
On the other hand, if you dont know what youre doing, it could cost more to try doing it yourself. But if youre handy with fixing things, its not that hard to replace your drain line.
It will probably work better if you take the old drain line off in situ and use it as a pattern for the new line.
Dont forget to put in a clean-out access to make routine maintenance easier. You can also add a clear rubber trap to see when problems begin forming before its an all-out blockage.
Always be sure to disconnect power from the unit before attempting any sort of maintenance or repair.
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Snaking An A/c Drain Line Can Save You Dollars
Air conditioner drain lines are subject to frequent clogs from a variety of factors, including:
- Mineral deposits
- Mold or mildew build-up
This creates a mess and a health hazard since you breathe in the mold spores growing in your drain line.
To save money on repair bills, you can sometimes unclog your drain line by running a drain snake through it.
- Open your drain clean-out
- Push it in as far as it will go
- Twist a few times to try and break through the clog
- Pull the snake out.
Typically, this is a last resort before calling the repairman. Usually, a snake is used only when water or air pressure has failed to break up the clog.
Traditional drain snakes only work with smooth traps. If the trap is made of PVC elbows, these snakes just cant negotiate the series of 90-degree turns.
How Can You Prevent Clogging Of Your Drain Line
Clogging can be very costly. Apart from the discomfort of bad odors and a system not functioning well, clogging can cost you money. You may be forced to redo some components of your system. This is always very costly.
Also, calling a certified HVAC professional to help you clean the drain line may be expensive. The good news is that there are many steps that you can take to prevent clogging in the first place.
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How To Snake A Clogged Drain Line
Snaking a clogged drain line should be a walk in the park if you understand what to do. One important thing to remember is to use a smart plumbers snake.
Traditional plumbing snakes cannot effectively go through the sharp corners of PVC elbow traps. A smart plumbers snake consists of a flexible stainless-steel material and a small ball at the end.
The flexible material can easily reach all the corners of your lines. Here is a simple procedure that you can use to snake your clogged lines.