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How Do I Unclog My AC’s Condensate Drain Line? Answers from a NJ Tech

Jul. 06, 2017
If your AC’s condensate drain line clogs, it’s most likely because mold and mildew is growing inside the drain. 

And, depending on the type of AC you have, a clogged drain line will either:
  1. Shut off your AC completely (to prevent flooding)
  2. Overflow and cause water damage
And because neither situation is ideal, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to clear your condensate drain line and how to prevent this problem from happening again.

In the Central New Jersey area and need professional help now? Our team is experienced in all AC repairs and can unclog your AC condensate line quickly. Schedule service and we’ll send over a tech right away.
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3 steps to unclog your condensate drain line

What you’ll need:
  • A wet/dry vac
  • Duct tape or cloth towel
  • A hose that can reach your drain line (if you don’t have a wet/dry vac)

Step 1: Locate your condensate drain line exit

Every central air conditioner has a condensate drain line that runs from the indoor air handler to the outside of the home. Look for a white PVC pipe that’s located near your outdoor unit.

How to unclog ac condensate drain line
What your AC condensate drain line looks like.

Step 2: Connect wet/dry vac to the end of the condensate drain line and make the connection airtight.

Once you’ve located your condensate drain line, attach the end of your wet/dry vac to the end of the line. Then, wrap duct tape or the cloth towel tightly around the connection to make it airtight.

Step 3: Run wet/dry vac for 5-10 seconds. Repeat until clog is removed.

Remove the top of the wet/dry vac. If this process removed the clog, you’ll see brown gunk inside the wet/dry vac.

If your condensate drain is still clogged after this, you’ll need a professional’s help.

If you don’t have a wet/dry vacuum…

Step 1: Locate your condensate drain.

Step 2: Connect garden hose to the condensate drain.
Pull hose toward the condensate drain until you can attach the head of the hose to the opening of your condensate drain.

Step 3: Turn your hose on high for 5 seconds.
Run the hose for short blasts while creating a tight connection with your hand. This should allow the water to push upwards through the drain and break up any clogs.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 until the water runs clear.
If your condensate drain is still clogged after trying this hose method, you’ll need to have a professional clear your condensate drain.

How to keep your condensate drain line from clogging again

Don’t want to deal with a clogged condensate drain ever again?

Preventing clogs is simple: Every spring (before the cooling season), pour a cup of bleach down your condensate drain from the inside. This will prevent mildew and algae from being able to grow in the first place.

Note: To locate your condensate drain line from the inside, you’ll first need to find your indoor unit (usually in an attic or closet space), then look for a white PVC pipe that leads outdoors.

Need help from a NJ tech?

If you’re having trouble clearing your condensate drain line, just contact us.

We can unclog the line and offer annual maintenance visits that will keep your drain line clog-free in the future! Schedule service

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