When it comes to taking care of your air conditioner, so many factors come into play: installing the thermostat on an inside wall, changing the air filters regularly, unclogging the drain lines. It’s almost like having an HVAC side job (side note: If you hire an HVAC professional to do these things for you every now and then, you’d be taking a huge burden off your shoulders).
Reality is that if you don’t take the time to address these preventive measures, you could end up with lukewarm air inside your home and high energy bills due to the system’s inefficiency. So in the spirit of sharing knowledge and explaining how to do this at home, we’ve created this useful blog.
What Causes AC Drain Lines to Clog?
Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air from inside your home and using refrigerant to turn it into cool air. When the warm air goes into the AC, it condenses on the coils, dripping water droplets into a drip pan. This water then gets drained out of your home through drain lines (also known as condensate lines).
Think about it: We’re talking about dark and damp pipes with water being flushed out of them on a regular basis. Over time, mold, mildew, sludge, and algae may start growing in them. And since bugs and mice aren’t strangers to getting into dark and damp orifices whenever they get a chance, it’s also possible for them to get in these lines. Add to it dirt from being outside and dust that simply accumulates anywhere and you have the perfect recipe for a nifty clog.
How Do I Know If My Drain Lines Are Clogged?
If your air conditioner isn’t cooling properly and you’ve checked to make sure that the air filters are clean, there’s a chance that a clogged condensate line may be the culprit. To know if they are indeed clogged, walk outside your home towards the condenser unit (that’s the big box portion of your AC that’s outside your house).
Near it, you’ll find drain pipes coming from your wall, with a PVC pipe at the end. If it’s working properly, water should be dripping from it as your AC runs. If there’s no water coming out, you have a clogged line.
How to Unclog an AC Drain Line in 4 Steps
You can reduce the chances of clogging by regularly flushing the lines with a ¼ cup of distilled vinegar.
However, if it’s already clogged, this is what you can do:
Step 1. Turn off your air conditioner. Better yet, turn off its power source from the breakers. Please don’t get electrocuted over something so simple.
Step 2. Buy or borrow a shop vac. Make sure it has a standard hose two and a half inches wide.
Step 3. Buy or borrow a DIY vac. This is a PVC part that will allow you to connect your shop vac into the condensate line. It is an ideal tool for this task, since the narrower end of the DIY vac will fit snugly into the end of the drain line. Once everything’s connected, turn on the shop vac for at least three minutes.
Step 4. Locate your condenser line. Granted, if you’ve been flushing them with vinegar, you already know where they are. If you haven’t, look for the drain lines coming out of your home’s wall and near the outside unit of your air conditioner.
If you’re more of a visual person, click here for a video tutorial.
Climate Design Can Help You
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If you’re having AC issues, we can help! If it’s an emergency, call us today.
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