Best Ways to Keep My AC Drain Line Clear

AC drain line in basement of a residential home

Summer is a time when your air conditioning unit needs a little extra attention. One common issue that people experience during the summer is a clogged AC drain line. This can cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary and lead to expensive repairs down the road. In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to keep your AC drain line clear and functioning properly.

How to Clean AC Drain Line

While performing maintenance on your air conditioning unit may seem daunting, there are a few basic things you can do safely to help clean and maintain your AC drain line. The steps to clear your AC drain line are:

  • Turn off AC at the Breaker. Before doing any work on your AC unit, you will want to make sure that it is turned off at the breaker. This will prevent you from accidentally electrocuting yourself while working on the unit.
  • Locate AC Unit's Drain Pipe. The next step is to locate your AC unit's drain line. This is usually a small PVC pipe that is located near the outdoor unit of your AC.
  • Locate Access Point. Once you have located the drain pipe, you will need to find an access point. This is usually a small cap or cover that can be removed.
  • Check Your AC Manufacturer’s Guidelines. Before proceeding, you will want to check your AC manufacturer's guidelines. Some AC units have specific instructions on how to clean the drain line. For example, a common method for clearing an AC drain tube is adding bleached or distilled white vinegar for 30 minutes. But some manufacturers advise against it. This makes it very important to check your manufacturer guidelines before you begin.
  • Flush with Water. Once you have located the access point, you will need to flush the drain line with water. You can do this by attaching a garden hose to the access point and running the water until it is clear.
  • How to Clean AC Drain Line with Vinegar. For stubborn clogs, you can pour vinegar into the drain line before flushing with water. This should help loosen any gunk that may have accumulated in the line. Once the vinegar has been in the line for about 15-20 minutes, attach a garden hose to the access point and run the water until the line is clear.
  • Use Wet/Dry Vacuum to Clear. If the water flush does not clear the drain line, you can try using a wet/dry vacuum. This is a more powerful method of clearing the drain line, but it should only be used if the water flush does not work.
  • Replace Access Point Cover. Once you have cleared the drain line, you will need to replace the access point cover. This will prevent debris and animals from getting into the line and causing it to clog again.
  • Turn AC Back on and Check for Leaks. After replacing the access point cover, you can turn your AC unit back on at the breaker. You will then want to check for any leaks.

If you see any leaks, or if you feel uncomfortable performing any of the steps outlined above, your best approach is to call a professional for help.

Related Topic: Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

Prevent Future AC Drain Line Clogs

Clearing your AC drain line is a great first step in maintaining your AC unit. But part of keeping your AC unit working efficiently is to prevent future drain line clogs from forming, as well. Here are a few basic things you can do to keep your drain line clear:

  • Ensure Proper Drain Pipe Angle. One of the most common causes of AC drain line clogs is a pipe that is not properly angled. The pipe should be sloped downward so that water can easily drain out. A proper angle allows for good drainage flow. If the pipe is not properly angled, the water will sit in the line and eventually cause a clog.
  • Flush Regularly. You should also make it a habit to flush your AC drain line regularly. This will help keep the line clear of any buildup and keep your AC unit working properly.
  • Replace Filters Regularly. Another important thing to keep in mind is that your AC unit's filters should be replaced regularly. This will help keep the air flowing properly, allowing for efficient cooling and drainage.
  • Keep AC Unit Clean. Finally, you should keep your AC unit clean. This includes the outdoor unit as well as the indoor unit. A clean AC unit will help keep the air flowing properly, which will also help keep the drain line clear.

Related Topic: Cleaning AC Ducts – Can You Do It Yourself?

Install a Safety Switch

One of the best ways to prevent AC drain line clogs is to install a safety switch. This switch will automatically turn off your AC unit if the line becomes clogged. When your drain line clogs, water can back up into your home and cause damage to not only the AC unit but for the surrounding structures as well. By installing a safety switch, you can catch problems early and prevent any damage to your AC unit.

Schedule Professional AC Maintenance

Keeping your AC drain line clear is an important part of overall HVAC maintenance. But it is still only one step; all AC units require additional maintenance throughout the year to keep them running smoothly. And your local HVAC professionals at Aire Serv can help! We offer AC maintenance plans to keep your unit running efficiently all year long. Call us or schedule an appointment online today!