A clogged drain in your AC can be one of the most annoying problems that come with owning one. When you have a clogged drain, it means that excess water is backing up in your line and flooding into your home. This can cause your thermostat to set off an alarm, preventing your unit from cooling. Read on to learn about several methods you can use to unclog your AC’s drain line.
This is one of the first things people think about when they have a clogged drain line, but you need to know that it’s not always effective for clearing out all types of clogs. Still, it’s a great first solution. Depending on the number of drains that are clogged, you may need more than one plunger, so keep that in mind. The good thing is, that plungers are relatively inexpensive and easy to find, which is why so many people think of them the instant they get a clog.
Use a Wet/Dry Vacuum
This method is most effective for removing solid debris lodged in the drain line. Since it’s quite possible there will be standing water in the pipe, it’s best to use a wet/dry vacuum. If you can see what type of blockage you have in the pipe, you should be able to use this method successfully.
A wet/dry vacuum should be powerful enough to accomplish this task with ease. You may need to first remove any caps or plugs from the end of the drain line for it to work properly.
Pour One Cup of Vinegar Down the Drain Line
Vinegar contains acetic acid and can break down algae and other deposits that may have accumulated in your drain line. It is also a natural disinfectant that will kill any bacteria or mold present in your drain line.
Turn off your air conditioner by setting it to the off position on your thermostat. Then, find the service valve on your AC unit, located either outside or near the indoor coil. Open this valve and allow the water to drain before adding vinegar to the condensate pan. Add one cup of white vinegar to the condensate pan through the access port. If there is no access port on your AC unit, pour the vinegar into a bucket and place it inside your condensate pan. You should hear gurgling as the vinegar moves through your system; let it sit for about 30 minutes before turning your air conditioner back on.
Pour One Cup of Bleach Down the Drain Line
Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite and can also break down the deposits of algae and other debris that have accumulated in your drain line. It will kill any bacteria or mold present in your drain line, just like vinegar will. Pour one cup of bleach down your drain line every month to help keep it free from clogs.
One cup of bleach is the cheapest and easiest way to unclog the drain line in your AC. Be sure not to use any other type of chemical, as other chemicals could have a negative reaction with the bleach. Pour the bleach down the drain line as quickly as possible. This will keep the bleach in one area, and it won’t be able to form a clog itself. After you pour the bleach, let it sit for an hour or two before running water down the drain line again. The idea is that you want the bleach to eat away at any mold or mildew that might be causing the clog.
Blow Air Through the Line
Another option is to blow air through the line with an air compressor or bicycle pump. Make sure you put a rag over the end of the pipe first so that water doesn’t splash back in your face during this process. This can be helpful if there’s debris stuck inside your line that’s too hard to suck out with a vacuum. If you’re handy with a garden hose and have a helper to keep an eye on things, this method is simple and effective. Just use your hose to blow air through the drain line. Start at the condenser and move toward the outside unit. If there’s any blockage, you’ll feel it as pressure against your fingers.
Flush Clean Water Through It
One method for unclogging a drain line is to flush clean water through it. You can flush clean water through it to loosen any debris that may be stuck in the lines. Turn off your AC and remove the drain line from underneath by unscrewing the screws on its base. Then attach a hose to it and run water through it for several minutes or until all of the water comes out clean. This will cause water pressure in your drains to increase and push out any debris lodged inside them. You may need to repeat this process several times before any debris comes out of the drain line itself.
Use Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners are another popular way to unclog drains in your home. These chemicals are designed specifically to break down clogs in plumbing systems, so they should be able to do their job well when it comes to unclogging drains in your AC unit. These products usually come in powdered form and need to be mixed with water before being poured down the clogged drain line. They work by breaking down clogs over time, so you’ll need to leave them in place for several hours.
Use an Electric Snake
An electric snake is a machine that you can rent or buy at most hardware stores. It is a long, flexible wire with an attachment on one end that allows you to push it down the drain line. The other end of the wire has a rotating brush that dislodges any debris in the drain line so water can flow freely again. Electric snakes are effective, but they require some plumbing and electrical work knowledge before you can use one.
If none of the above methods work, it might be time to bring in an electric snake. Locate the cleanout cap on your drain line, which should be near the compressor. Unscrew and remove the cap, being careful not to spill any water that is trapped inside. Then insert the snake into your drain line, turning it as you go until you feel resistance; this means that it has reached the clog. Keep turning until you break up the clog, then remove the snake and replace the cap.
When the water condenses inside your air conditioner and causes the drainage to clog up, it can pose a serious problem that is inconvenient and harmful to both your property and your health. For more information on different ways to unclog drain lines in your AC, turn to Southland Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer a full range of cooling and heating services. Our team also provides indoor air quality solutions. Call us today for more information or to set up an appointment.