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How To Fix Clogged Ac Drain Line

How To Fix Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside

How To Fix A Clogged Drain Line (Condensate Line)

Having an air conditioner is a great luxury, especially in the hot months when you want to be cool and comfortable inside your home. However, a leaking air conditioner can cause quite a mess and lots of stress. So, how do you fix an air conditioner leaking water inside?

You can fix an air conditioner leaking water inside by unclogging the condensate drain line, replacing the drain pan, or repairing bandages on the drain hose. You may also replace the air filter or adjust the refrigerant levels.

In the rest of this article, Ill describe some of the most common causes of a leaky air conditioner and how to fix them. After reading this article, youll be able to fix the mess of an air conditioner leaking water inside and enjoy the cool air an air conditioner provides.

What Causes The Ac Drain Line Clog

Since the evaporator coil stays wet when removing moisture from indoor air, the water it collects may mix with dust and other tiny particles and turn into mud. Over time, this causes a blockage in the drain pipe. A back up of debris such as leaves in the yard can also cause clogs. Even a small buildup of muck can create a perfect environment for algae and mold to thrive, which affects the flow of water.

What To Do When The Ac Drain Line Is Clogged

An obvious sign of a clogged AC pipe is that the air conditioning system has stopped working. The AC drain line is responsible for removing excess condensation from the unit. Clogged AC drain line can result in flooding around the air handler unit. It can also cause troubles with optimal cooling. A few Bay Areas homeowners complain of a moldy smell around the house because of a build-up somewhere in the system. The air conditioner in this case would still be running, but with a bad odor.

This post will help you understand why drain pipes get clogged and the steps you can do to fix it.

What Clogs an AC Pipe?

Algae is the primary cause of a clogged AC pipe. Drain pipe can get humid because of warm air blowing over the HVAC units cold evaporator coil. It can also result in algae growth. Your air conditioners drain pipe is more likely to clog if it runs constantly. Mold, mildew, and other types of fungi and bacteria growth can also cause issues in the air conditioner.

Unclogging the Air Conditioner Pipe

You should be able to easily fix smaller and regular clogs without any trouble. Dont use bleach to unclog the drain since that can easily damage essential components in the air conditioning system. These are tried and tested steps that can be performed for getting rid of algae, mold and mildew in the air conditioner.

1. Turn Off Power

You need to turn off power to the air conditioner at the breaker and the thermostat.

2. Find the AC Drain Pipe

4. Assess the Blockage

7. Repeat

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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

Why Does The Ac Drain Line Get Clogged

Air Conditioner Drain Line Clogged

Before moving on to the details of repairing the clogged condensate drain lines, lets talk about the reason an AC drain line gets clogged.

The AC drain line constantly stays moist, which can cause mold and algae growth. If they are allowed to fester for long, they can eventually cause a blockage.

Moreover, there are several pollutants in the air, like pet dander and dust particles. As this air passes through your air conditioner, these pollutants can make their way into your AC drain pan over time and start to build up in the drain line.

Its best to continuously maintain your AC and clean up any clogs in the drain line before the clog gets worse and ends up covering the entire pipe.

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An Ounce Of Prevention

Whether you do it yourself or Climate Control Company does it for you, maintaining your condensate drain system as a part of regular air conditioning maintenance is easy and inexpensive. But its a great way to prevent potentially damaging and aggravating problems at your Glenwood Springs, Aspen, or Vail, CO home. For more great information be sure to like and follow us on and .

Get In Touch With Our Hvac Professionals Today

Looking for a reliable and affordable heating, plumbing, or air conditioning service near you? Look no further than Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. We offer a wide range of HVAC services to the residents of Northern Valley, Greater Sacramento and the surrounding areas. We also offer financing options to make it easier for you to get the service you need. Contact us today and get to learn more about our services.

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Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Unclog stubborn AC drain lines when annual cooling system maintenance is performed by your professional HVAC technician. This is just one of the many tasks included in AC maintenance tune ups. When clogs occur during cooling season, HVAC service ensures the proper repairs are made so condensate can drain away from your air conditioner, preventing water damage to your home. Call Thomas & Galbraith today to schedule air conditioner maintenance and cooling system repair as needed.

Unclog The Drain Line Pipe

How to Unclog AC Drain Line Fast (3 Seconds), Avoid Repairman

You may find several different blockages in your drain lines, including leaves or even paper towels. We will be cleaning out a clogged drain line with a drain snake for this step. This tool is designed to clear out any debris from the pipe quickly.

Using a snake or another tool to clear out any debris in the drain line pipe is essential in preventing future clogs and drainage issues. Test the line for proper drainage after removing the clog. A drain line snake is a long, flexible metal or plastic cable attached to a power drill. The cable is what will unclog your drain lines. If you dont have one, you can use a wire brush.

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Fail To Securely Tape Your Wet/dry Vac

To make sure your wet/dry vacuum is secured to the drainage pipe, you should tape it to create an airtight seal. This will ensure that you are getting enough suction through the drain line to remove the clog. Failing to securely tape the wet/dry vacuum will result in leaks and you may not be able to produce enough pressure to get the clog out.

Turn Off The Acs Power

When you turn off your AC unit, the fan inside stops spinning. This gives you a chance to clean the blades without the risk of being hit by the fan. In addition, turning off your AC unit will prevent any electrical damage that could occur if water were to come into contact with live electrical components.

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Ac Drain Line Clogged Don’t Do This

Keeping the appliances in your home running smoothly is one of the most important jobs for any homeowner. When you notice something wrong with your home, your immediate reaction should be to try and fix it. A puddle of water around your air conditioning unit is no exception.

If you notice that your AC is leaking, the odds are good that the drain line is clogged. This is a common problem and something that will happen with almost every air conditioner at some point or another. Clearing the drain line is relatively easy, but the important thing is to know how to avoid making the problem worse in the process. In this article, we have laid out what not to do when you have a clogged AC drain line.

What Causes A Clogged Drain Line & How To Fix It

Smart Snakes The Solution for a Clogged Air Conditioner Drain Line

If your drain line looks like this, it needs to get cleared out by an HVAC technician.

Over time, your air conditioners drain line can get clogged with dust, debris, algae, and more. When this happens, it can result in mold buildup or water damage to your home.

In Arizona, clogs frequently occur during our monsoon season when intense dust and dirt get blown around. The good news is that cleaning your drain line is relatively simple and easy.

In this article, well explore:

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Check The Drain Line & Clean It

You will also notice a hole in the drain pan which is called the drain hole. Do a visual inspection of this part. If you notice a clog or dirt stuck here, then push a thin wire brush into the drain hole. It will help clean off the dirt and mold that is clogging this point. Alternatively, you can use your bare hands to remove the debris. Make sure to clean it carefully so the debris does not get pushed down further.

Routine Ac Cleaning Without Blockage

1. Turn HVAC system off.2. Locate cleaning port. If the unit has turned off due to a blockage, you may need a bucket to collect the condensation resting in the drain pan.3. Remove cleaning port cap.4. Slowly pour cleaning solution down PVC drain line. Repeat three times.5. Replace cleaning port cap.6. Turn system back on.

For more information about performing a routine AC cleaning, check out our blog: Cleaning Your AC Drain Line Regularly Can Prevent System Shutdown

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How Often Should I Check The Air Conditioner Drain Line

Checking the AC drain line periodically can stop bigger issues before they happen. If the line backs up and the water has nowhere to go, the pan could overflow, flooding the area or causing moisture damage.

Make it a habit to check the AC condensate line each time you change the AC filters. Its far easier to unclog AC drain lines if theyre monitored regularly. Look for excess water in the drain pan as one of the first signs of a clogged AC drain.

One of the best ways to prevent a clogged AC drain line is to schedule seasonal inspections for your HVAC system. A trained technician will evaluate the components of the unit, including the drain line.

Tips To Keep Your Ac Drain Line Clear

AC Dripping/Won’t Turn On? 2 Tips Unclog AC Drain Line Pipe

An important part of keeping your running is keeping your AC drain line clear, which can be done with regular maintenance. Your air conditioner should be serviced by an HVAC professional twice a year, and during these routine visits, your technician will take action to keep your AC drain line clear. When an HVAC technician visits your home, they will clean the drip pan and check it for any leaks or water build-up. Plus, theyll use traditional PVC pipe cleaner on the drain line to help prevent any potential clogs.

If your AC drain line keeps clogging frequently, there are a few ways you can help mitigate the problem in addition to scheduling regular service with a professional. HVAC technicians can teach homeowners who face regular drain line clogs how to pour a cup of a household substance, like distilled vinegar, down their AC drain line to help prevent clogs. Additionally, keeping both your outdoor and indoor HVAC units free of debris, on and around the unit, will help prevent drain line clogging.

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Preventing Ac Drain Line Clogs

Over time, it is normal for drain lines to have mold and mildew build up in them.

However, you can prevent clogs by keeping them clean.

During the summer months, pour hot water and vinegar down your drain line at least once per month to ensure no build up occurs.

There are also drain line cleaning tablets that you can purchase at home goods stores to help eat away at any build up.

Another good idea is to have a water leak detector installed to notify you immediately of a water leak.

Having your AC system cleaned should be one of the first things that is completed in the spring.

Overlook Thoroughly Cleaning The Drain Pan

The drain pan on your AC unit catches the condensation that falls from the unit during the process of heat transfer. After a while, this pan will fill up and can cause water damage in your home. While you are clearing your drain line clog, it is a good time to also empty and clean your drain pan to make sure you dont get any more leaks.

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Replace The Drain Pan

Another important part of your air conditioning system is the drain pan. This is where all the condensed water droplets formed by humidity and air cooling collect. After the water pools in the pan, itll flow out of your house through the drain line.

However, if the pan is damaged or has a hole, the condensed water will leak out. Unfortunately, this problem isnt uncommon because many drain pans are made from cheap plastic, which can easily break over time.

If you need to replace the drip pan, follow these steps:

Repair Any Bandages On The Drain Hose

Condensate Drain Tool

If your drain hose has any bandages because of past damage, the waterproof tape may have come undone and created a place where water can leak out. You should have a professional check your drain hose and re-do any past repairs.

You can check the bandages and replace any old or peeling waterproof tape to save a little money. I suggest using this Tapel Butyl Waterproof Tape for Leaks from Amazon.com. This high-quality tape offers airtight sealing, so you are unlikely to experience any leaks once you replace your old tape with this one. The tape can shut off moisture, vapor, chemicals, and other potential leaks.

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Unclogging An Ac That Isnt A Wet/dry Vac

If you dont have a wet/dry vac, then the method is a little different. To do this, youll use a hose instead of the hose that comes with a wet/dry vac. Its a pretty easy fix. All you have to do is attach the house to the condensate drain.

Once youve done this, run the water high for a short amount of time, five seconds. If the AC drain clog doesnt come out at first, try this a few times. If you still cant get it out, then youll need the help of an AC repair professional.

How To Unclog Your Ac Condensate Drain Line

It is not difficult to remove a blockage in your units condensate drain and tray. Follow the steps below to learn how to do it yourself.

Never pour bleach or other household cleaners into your condensate line. This can damage your system and your home. Only use cleaners that are made specifically for cleaning condensate lines. If you want an all-natural option, a solution of vinegar and distilled water can help eliminate and prevent algae and bacteria growth.


  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar


Step 1. Turn off your air conditioner. To avoid shock or electrical damage, switch your air conditioner to OFF on your thermostat as well as at the circuit breaker panel.

Step 2. Locate the drain pipe. If you live in a single-family home, itll be located outside, where the condenser unit sits. If you live in a building, itll be located in the same closet as the furnace. Its a PVC pipe with a plastic cap.

Step 3. Remove the cap from the pipe. You wont need tools for this. Pulling it off with your hands will suffice.

Step 4. Check to see if there is any debris stuck in the drain. Visually inspect the drain line for any debris that may be causing the blockage. If its too dark, shine a flashlight on it.

Step 5. Remove any visible debris and retest for proper drainage. Manually remove any visible debris, be careful not to accidentally push it further down.

Step 7. Replace the drain cap. Wait half an hour before turning on your air conditioner again.


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What To Do If You Have A Clogged Ac Drain Line

Did you know that, according to the Energy Information Association, 87% of homeowners in the US use air conditioning? Its even more common for a home to have AC than it is for it to have a garage or dining room. This comes as no surprise, given how intense heat waves and summer temperatures can be in the US.

If you have a clogged AC drain and desperately need your AC to work, then chances are youre struggling with unbearable heat. Youre looking at your AC, and wondering: Whats wrong with it? A clogged AC drain could be the cause, but you dont know how to tell if it is.

If you are able to find out that its a clogged AC drain thats causing the issue, you still might struggle with how to fix this issue. You also might be stressed about any of the long-term damage your AC might suffer as a result.

Thats why weve put together this guide. By giving you all the information you need on the signs of a clogged AC drain, how you can fix it, and more, you can have your AC working again in no time. Read on to learn more.


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