Air conditioners contain refrigerant coils that cool the air in a home. The refrigerant coils have cool surfaces that attract evaporated water or condensation. The condensation drops down into a drain pan and flows through the drain, which has a pipe attached to it called a condensation or condensate drain pipe. Over time, a buildup of dirt and algae collects in the condensation drain pipe and may form a clog. Signs of a clogged air conditioner condensation pipe are an overflowing drain pan or water puddles forming under the air conditioner.
1. Turn off the air conditioner and cut the electricity to the unit at the breaker box. Remove the air conditioning unit housing panel to find the evaporator coil and drain line. The drain pan is at the bottom of the housing.
2. Clean the air conditioner drain pan. If it is full of water, use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the water and any debris that may be in the drain pan. Insert a clean rag into the drain pipe opening in the pan to prevent back-splash.
3. Locate copper pipes that lead to the exterior of the air conditioning unit. Next to the copper pipes will be a 1 inch diameter PVC pipe that may be white, black or gray in color. This is the condensation drain pipe. If you cannot find the pipe, gently remove the dirt near the copper pipes with a small trowel shovel, as it may have been embedded in the ground.
4. Remove the 90-degree cap fitting on a T-shaped connector on the PVC condensation drain pipe to open the access hole of the pipe. Place the wet/dry vacuum hose over the opening on the PVC pipe. Turn on the wet/dry vacuum and remove any debris or algae that may be clogging the drain.
5. Use a garden hose to remove any debris that is firmly stuck in the pipe. Turn on the hose, then kink it near the end to build up water pressure. Insert the hose end into the end of the condensation pipe and let go of the kinked end of the hose to let the pressurized water go up into the pipe and knock lose the debris. As soon as water enters the pipe, remove the hose to prevent accidentally flooding the drain pan.
6. Remove the clean rag from the drain pan. Use a pitcher to pour water down the drain pan. If the clog is removed, water will flow freely through the drain of the pan. Replace the 90-degree cap fitting on the condensation pipe and the air conditioning housing panel.
Things You Will Need
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Clean rag
- Small trowel shovel
- Garden hose
Prevent future occurrences of clogs by regularly cleaning your air conditioning condensation pipe. Once a month pour 1 gallon of warm water mixed with 1/4 cup of bleach down the drain of the drain pan. Or you can use a funnel to pour the warm bleach water down the air conditioning condensation pipe at the 90-degree cap fitting.
Handle bleach with care as it is a corrosive substance.