How to Fix a Clogged AC Drain Line

A clogged drain line is one of the most annoying problems you can have with your air conditioner. It often leads to water leaks in your home, which can cause issues such as water damage and mold growth. As with most issues with your HVAC system, it’s always best to contact professionals if your drain line is clogged. Here are some tips on determining whether a clogged drain line is your issue.

Warranties, Insurance and DIY Fixes

Keep in mind that fixes that are not considered minor can affect your HVAC unit’s warranty. Many policies require that units must be serviced by a professional to remain valid. If you try and fix your drain line clog and cause water damage to your home, your insurance policy may not cover the damage.

1. Check the Drain Flow Switch

Before you do anything else, check to see if your AC unit has a drain flow switch. This switch will shut down your air conditioner if water backs up under the evaporator to avoid water damage. The switch usually sits above a well in the drain line. If there’s a clog in the line and water backs up, the well will fill with water and trigger the switch.

If you’re not sure if there’s a clog in the drain line, check for this switch and the well on your AC unit. If the switch has been triggered and the well is full of water, you likely have a clog. This well is also a good place to see if the clog is visible.

2. The Plunger Method

Since your AC’s drain line works like the rest of the plumbing in your home, it can sometimes be cleared like any other drain using a plunger. This is definitely not a foolproof solution, but it’s a good place to start. Find a small plunger that can seal around the drain opening, and plunge it repeatedly for about 20 seconds. It doesn’t always work, but you might be able to dislodge any solid clogs in your line with any luck.

3. Use a Wet/Dry Vacuum

If the plunger method doesn’t work for you, you can always try using a wet/dry vacuum to remove whatever is clogging your drain. The reason why you should use a wet/dry vacuum is because there’s often a lot of water trapped in your drain, so any other vacuum you use could be damaged. This is often a good solution if you can see the blockage in the drain line.

4. Bleach or Vinegar

Since a lot of drain line clogs are caused by a buildup of algae and fungi, you can get rid of smaller clogs by flushing your line with bleach or vinegar. In fact, pouring 1 cup of bleach down your drain line is one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective ways of clearing out your drain line. Vinegar also works if you don’t have any bleach. In any case, simply pour the cup of your liquid of choice in the line through the service valve of your AC system. If you can’t find the service valve, you can also try putting a bucket of vinegar in your condensate pan and letting it move through your AC system. Wait about 15 minutes to see if it works.

Don’t Snake the Line

A plumbing snake has been suggested on social media and in other places as a possible tool to remove a clog in the drain line. This is not something that we recommend if you don’t know how to use a snake since you could push the obstruction further down the pipeline.

Contact the Pros for Further Assistance

These are all things that you can try yourself if you have a clogged AC drain line. If you try these solutions and still have a clogged line or a leak, contact Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning as soon as possible. If you are unsure whether this is your issue, you can also call for a diagnosis. We provide HVAC services to homes in Puyallup, WA and the surrounding areas, and we will be happy to take a look at your air conditioner and find out why your drain line is clogged. We also offer AC and furnace installation, air purifiers, and many other services that can keep your home feeling comfortable throughout the year.

For more information about how we can help clear your AC’s drain line, contact Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning in Puyallup, WA today.

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