HVAC Air Conditioning Unit on concrete slap with new construction brick house

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.  

Self-Diagnose the Cause  

While a clogged drain line is a common cause of puddles around an AC unit, there are other reasons it might be happening. Be careful not to assume you know the cause of the issue right away without checking other possible reasons first. A professional can help you accurately diagnose the problem if you aren’t sure.  

Forget to Turn off the Power  

Always turn the power off to your AC before you start doing any work on it. This is the number one safety concern when doing any kind of work on your home yourself. Either make sure the unit is unplugged or turn off the breaker where it gets its power.  

Use a Regular Vacuum 

When unclogging your AC drain line, you should use the right kind of vacuum to pull the clog out of the drain pipe. When doing this, make sure to use a wet/dry vacuum and not a standard carpet vacuum. Standard vacuums are not built to take on moisture, and using one for this job could lead to a broken vacuum or a serious electrical injury.  

Fail to Securely Tape Your Wet/Dry Vac  

To make sure your wet/dry vacuum is secured to the drainage pipe, you should tape it to create an airtight seal. This will ensure that you are getting enough suction through the drain line to remove the clog. Failing to securely tape the wet/dry vacuum will result in leaks and you may not be able to produce enough pressure to get the clog out.  

Neglect to Clean the Drain Line  

Once you have removed the clog, you should completely clean the drain line to prevent more buildup. Use a cleaning solution of bleach and vinegar and some thin brushes to properly clean out any remaining debris. This will help ensure that new clogs won’t have a chance to form. 

Be Incautious with Bleach and Vinegar 

A bleach and vinegar solution is a great way to clean out your drain line after the clog has been removed. However, always be sure to use the correct ratio of these two liquids and to not let the solution sit in the pipe too long. It can corrode metal and cause more damage to the drain line than you had to begin with. A professional can use the correct chemicals to properly clean out your drain line.  

Fail to Apply Algaecide 

Mold, mildew, and algae are major causes of clogs in AC drain lines. Use a professional grade algaecide after you have cleaned out the lines to help prevent future clogs. An algaecide will gently clean the line without corroding any parts of it.  

Overlook Thoroughly Cleaning the Drain Pan 

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 don’t get any more leaks.  

Get Professional Assistance 

While it is possible to clear a clog in your AC drain line on your own, it is always best to consult a professional when dealing with appliance maintenance and repair. Doing it yourself may work in the moment, but a technician can ensure that more clogs don’t appear in the future and that nothing will be damaged in the process. Aire Serv can assist you with all of your AC maintenance needs and help keep your air conditioner running smoothly for years to come.