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How To Unclog Ac Drain Line With Shop Vac

How To Clean Your Air Conditioner Drain

Clear AC Condensate Drain Line with a Shop Vac

1. Turn off the power to your HVAC system at the thermostat and at the breaker.2. If you have an indoor air handler in your attic or utility closet, you’ll need to find the condensate pan. This is usually located directly under the unit. It may also be covered by a removable access panel.3. If you see standing water in the drain pan, your drain line is probably clogged. Use a handheld or shop vacuum to remove the moisture. You can also use rags to soak up the water. At this point, you can clean the drain pan with soap.4. Generally, clogged drains can be cleared with suction. If you have a shop vacuum, use it to pull the clog through the drain opening, which is located outside your house near the foundation. Place your hand around the pipe to improve suction and allow the vacuum to run for a minute. Then, check the vacuum canister to see if the clog was successfully removed.

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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.


Is There Any Danger In Using A Shop Vacuum To Unclog A Drain

There is a very small risk of electric shock if you are not using the correct voltages when vacuuming up debris. Make sure to use a grounded plug and never vacuum near or above energized wires.

If there is still a danger present after taking these precautions, then use an unsafe ladder or call a professional. By unplugging the power to the drain before using your shop vacuum, you significantly reduce this risk.

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How Do I Unclog My Ac Condensate Drain Line

If your central air conditioner is not draining properly, water may drip from the unit or condensate drain line. This can be caused by a clogged drain line or pump, a leak in the drain line, or a problem with the float switch. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to unclog your AC condensate drain line and keep your AC running smoothly.

If your AC condensate drain line is clogged, there are a few things you can do to try and unclog it.

First, you can try using a wet/dry vac to suck out any debris that might be clogging the line. If that doesnt work, you can try using a plunger to try and dislodge the clog.If neither of those methods work, you can try using a chemical drain cleaner. Be sure to follow the directions on the cleaner carefully, as using too much can damage your pipes. If none of these methods work, you may need to call a plumber to clear the line for you.

Page Contents

How To Clean Ac Drain Line With Air Compressor

Condensate Drain Tool

If your AC unit has been leaking water inside or youve noticed water pooled around it, theres a good chance your AC drain line is clogged. A clogged AC drain line can cause your unit to malfunction and can even lead to water damage in your home. But dont worry, cleaning your AC drain line is a fairly easy process that you can do yourself.Heres what youll need:

  • -An air compressor
  • -A drain line cleaning kit
  • -Eye protection

To start, locate your AC units drain line. It will likely be located near the base of the unit. Once youve found it, put on your gloves and eye protection.Then, use your drain line cleaning kit to clear any debris or buildup that may be causing the clog. Now its time to use your air compressor. First, disconnect the AC unit from its power source.Then, attach the air compressor to the drain line. Be sure to use the proper attachments and settings on your compressor, as using too much pressure can damage the drain line. Once the compressor is properly attached, turn it on and let it run for a few minutes.This will help to clear any remaining debris and buildup in the drain line.

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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.

Can I Use Drano In My Ac Drain Line

It wont work in your ac drain pipes because drano is designed for food and grease. I dont think Drano is a good choice for this situation. If you want to use bleach, use 5 parts water to 1 part bleach.

Rated 5 out of 5 by HomeDepotCustomer from This is a great product. It is easy to work with and it works great. The only problem I have with this product is that it does not come with a bottle. You have to buy it separately.

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How To Know If Your Drain Line Is Clogged

Clogged AC drain lines occur when there is buildup within the drainage system, causing it not to function properly. Some common indicators that your AC drain line is clogged include:

  • The drain pan of your indoor unit is full of water
  • AC unit is malfunctioning or wont turn on
  • Water damage around the air handler

Some modern units also include sensors that can detect if there is a clog in the drainage system. Even so, it never hurts to check the drain pan when you are cleaning your filters or performing other routine maintenance on your unit.

Overlook Thoroughly Cleaning The Drain Pan

How to Unclog AC Drain Line Using Shop Vacuum

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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How To Unclog Your Ac Drain Line

Many people dont know this, but your AC does more than just cool your home. It also removes humidity in your home so that the inside climate is ideal for you to live in. But sometimes, the part of your AC responsible for removing that access humidity gets clogged. Its important to keep this part unclog for reasons beyond dehumidifying your home. A clogged AC condensate drain line may cause condensation to leak and cause water damage. So, what can you do to prevent this?

How To Unclog Air Conditioner Drain Pipe

A clogged condensate drain line will trap water in your air conditioner. The coil will eventually turn to ice as a result. If the drain line is frozen, it will cause your air conditioner to shut down. If you have an older condenser, you may need to replace it with a new one.

A condensor coil can be removed from your AC system by unscrewing the two screws that hold it in place. Be careful not to damage the coil, as it may be difficult to remove. Once the coils are out of the way, its time to clean up the system.

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How To Unclog An Ac Drain Line Using Vinegar

If you dont have a shop vac, you can attempt to clear the AC drain line using vinegar. It will take longer to work but in most of the time it will work.

Vinegar is a weak acid which will break down the clog and in the process clear the line. You may or may not add baking soda to it.

Here is how to clear an AC drain line using vinegar:

  • Start by turning off the AC from the thermostat and electrical panel to remove the risk or electrical shock.
  • Locate the AC drain line access tee. The tee is a small PVC piece with a cap at the top.
  • Remove the cap from the tee. You dont need any tool to do that.
  • With the cap out, check if you can see any visible gunk inside the drain line. Remove as much of it as possible.
  • Pour one cup of distilled vinegar down the drain pipe and wait for about 30 minutes. You can opt to pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by another cup of vinegar. The combination works together very well.
  • After the 30 minutes, flush the AC drain line with hot water. Hot water on its own is known to clear clogs. The hot water will therefore break and flush out any clog still left inside the pipe.

Note: To be sure that the AC drain line is fully unclogged, place a bucket under the drain line outside the house prior to pouring out the water, or else have someone have a look as you pour the water.

Unclogging The Ac Drain

Why Is My Central Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

Once youve located the access and runoff, youre read to unclog the AC drain. Put duct tape around the wet/dry vacs mouthor use a towel wrapped around itso that its sealed off. The next step for how to unclog an AC drain is to attach the hose to the drain lines end.

If you arent able to seal it properly, have a friend or family member help you. They can seal the wet/dry vacs mouth so that your hands are free to do the rest of the work.

Once youve done this, run the vacuum. You should do this for one or two minutes. The clog should come out when you do this. Once you start seeing a stream of brown-colored water coming out, this is a sign that youve removed the clog.

If this doesnt happen, then you will have to call in a professional to remove the clog. Before you do, however, you can try using an air compressor to blast air into the tube, attempting to move the clog that way.

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Turn To Newcomb And Company For Clogged Ac Drain Line Service In Raleigh

If the steps above dont help when your AC drain line is clogged, then its time to call in the big guns. The technicians at Newcomb and Company can clear your clogged AC drain line and make sure you dont have any other issues causing your AC unit to malfunction. You can also to have an HVAC professional regularly inspect your HVAC unit and catch issues early, lowering the risk you have to deal with a clogged AC drain ever again.

Find out more about our HVAC repair services today. If you have any questions or are ready to schedule service, please contact us.

Disconnect The Hose Attached To Your Drain Line

Once you have located your drain line, remove the cap from the T-shaped head at the top of the pipe. This will allow you to see further into the pipeline to check for blockage. If there is a blockage near the opening, you can use your wire brush to dislodge it. Most of the time a clogged drain line will also require the suction of a wet/dry vacuum to clear the debris from further down the drain line. Use duct tape to attach the vacuum to the drain opening and let it run for a minute or so before turning it off.

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Unclog Your Ac Drain Line

This process is so simple that the unclogging portion of it happens in the second step. There are several ways you can unclog the drain line. Choose your preferred method out of the following:

  • Pour ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain
  • Attach a shop vac to the drain and use until water flows freely into the collection canister
  • Insert a long plumbers snake into the drain and remove the clog

Here’s How To Remove Air Conditioning Condenser Drain Clogs

Clearing an A/C drain with a Shop Vac(Wet Vac)

The air handler or indoor air conditioning equipment holds the cooling system evaporator coil. As it removes heating from the air, condensate forms and calls into the drain pan below before exiting the HVAC system through the AC drain line. If condensate drain clogs exist within the condensate pan or drain line, this problem could cause poor AC unit performance and even water damage to your home and air conditioning system.

A clogged condensate drain line is an air conditioner problem that doesnt always require professional HVAC service to fix. If your drain line is clogged, use these instructions to remove clogs and protect your unit as well as your house.

Thomas & Galbraith explain why a clogged AC drain line might happen in your home and what you should do when it does. If you just cant unclog your condensate line after trying these steps, contact us for air conditioner maintenance and repair service.

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How To Prevent The Ac Drain Line From Clogging

To prevent your AC drain line from clogging, it is important to have regular scheduled maintenance by a professional HVAC technician.

Apart from cleaning the condensate drain line, the technician will inspect and clean the ductwork, clean evaporator coils, change AC filters, check refrigerant level among other things.

On your own, you can make it a habit to regularly pour a cup of distilled vinegar down the AC drain line. The vinegar will prevent the formation of clogs making sure that the line is always discharging the condensate.

You can also opt to use the shop vac to clean the drain line after every few months. Just connect the vacs hose to the drain line and sack out the gunk from the drain line before it forms a clog.

Also, you dont have to bring in a technician to change the AC filter for you. You can easily change your ACs filter in a few minutes.

How Much Does It Cost To Unclog Ac Drain

The cost of repairing thelogged drains could range from $75 to $250. To replace the entire evaporator coil, you need to estimate the total cost of the repair. The drain cleaning is the most expensive part of an AC repair, but it can be done at any time during the life of your AC.

The cost depends on the type of drain cleaner used, the amount of time it takes to clean the drain, and whether or not you use a vacuum cleaner to remove the debris from the drains.

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Signs The Ac Drain Line Is Clogged

As indoor air circulates through the evaporator coil, dust, dirt and other airborne particles can be trapped by moisture. Build-up of this debris can be carried off as condensate drains from the coil. Over time, it can become trapped in your condensate drain line, causing blockage. As a preventative measure, many HVAC technicians will inspect and clear debris from the AC condensate drain during your annual maintenance tune-up. If this service isnt done regularly, you could potentially experience a clogging issue.

A clogged AC drain line symptoms include:

  • Musty, moldy smell near your indoor unit or in air from the registers/vents
  • Standing water near the indoor unit
  • Water damage in areas near the indoor unit
  • AC system is not cooling your home
  • AC system shuts down or doesnt turn on

If you experience any of the above situations, its probably time to contact an HVAC professional who knows how to clear a clogged air conditioner drain line.

Unclogging An Ac That Isnt A Wet/dry Vac

Smart Snakes The Solution for a Clogged Air Conditioner Drain Line

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.

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