If you’ve ever had your AC leaking or breaking down, you know how important it is to have a clean air conditioning unit. Take the advice of the HVAC pros at Performance Air Conditioning, and let us guide you on how to clean an air conditioner drain line.
Cleaning an AC drain pipe with vinegar
Have you ever used vinegar to clean your AC’s drain line? Your air conditioner cools your home, but it also dehumidifies the air. You might wonder, where does all that extra moisture go?
Your air conditioning system and parts of your plumbing systems have condensate drain lines that remove excess moisture. When it’s working properly, the condensate ac drain pipe will channel fluid from the air inside your home to the outside where it belongs. However, sometimes the AC drain line gets dirty and needs cleaning. Luckily, cleaning the AC drain pipe is easy and all you need is something you probably already have: vinegar.
How to tell if you have a clogged drain
Whenever your air conditioning system runs, water should drip from the AC condensate line. To check for any issues with your condensate drain, you first need to find it. The condensate drain is the white, plastic PVC pipe located outside your home near the compressor. Once you find the condensate drain, if no water is dripping from it, the drain might be clogged and you will need to clean the AC line.
How to Clear an AC Drain Line
If your AC drain line is completely clogged, you should first clear it. While it is not difficult to remove a blockage in your unit’s condensate drain and tray, it does take a couple of steps.
Many condensate line cleaning guides will tell you to mix bleach or other household cleaners to help clear it but you should absolutely avoid doing it if possible as it could damage your system and potentially be harmful to your health. Instead, follow these instructions:
- Turn off the air conditioner to avoid electrical shock or damage.
- Locate the drain pipe. Look for a PVC pipe, often located outside when the AC condenser unit is. It could also be in the pantry or in the basement.
- Remove the drain line plug.
- Remove any debris using either a shop vacuum, wet vac, garden hose, or a plumbers snake for the best results. Be careful not to push it further in.
- Clean the AC line by pouring 1 cup of vinegar into the pipe
Now that you’re done cleaning AC drain lines, you can simply replace the drain cap and turn your AC back on after half an hour or so.
How to Clean the AC Drain Line with Vinegar
Even if your condensate line is blocked, fixing the problem is easy. All you need are a few extra minutes, a little elbow grease, and some distilled vinegar.
- Locate the drain line. Look for a PVC pipe, often located outside when the AC condenser unit is. It could also be in the pantry or in the basement.
- Remove the drain line plug (the cover of the drain line) and pour in ¼ cup of distilled vinegar. The acidity in vinegar kills algae and bacteria, but keep in mind that it may take a few hours to remove the clog if it is severe.
- Repeat the process until the drain is clear.
- Check and clean AC drain lines once a month to keep your condensate line free of algae buildup.
If you want to clean AC drain lines efficiently and without having to call a local HVAC contractor, vinegar is definitely the way to go. It might take some time depending on the severity of the clog but it is a technique that works.