How To Cheaply And Easily Clean Clogged Central Air Conditioning Drain Lines

Posted on: 13 December 2016


Central air conditioning systems can generate a tremendous amount of moisture during hot, humid weather. In fact, they produce well over 20 gallons per day of condensate during the most extreme weather. If this water isn't properly drained, then it can cause serious damage to your home by overflowing into surrounding spaces. That means your condensate drain lines should be kept clear of anything that might prevent the water from leaving the system. Below is how you can clean condensate drain lines easily and quickly:

  1. Locate the drain lines — Your central air conditioning system should contain two drain lines to provide plenty of protection in case of clogging. Both drain lines will likely consist of three-fourths-inch PVC pipes leading from the evaporator unit; the reason two lines are used is to provide backup protection in case of clogging. Once you locate the drain lines, look for access fittings on top of the lines close to the evaporator; these fittings may be open or have protective caps that can be unscrewed or slipped free. Remove any caps that might be in the way and set them safely aside.

  2. Add bleach to the drain lines — Since many of the clogging problems with drain lines can be traced to bacterial slime growth, you will need to use household laundry bleach to clean out the material. Bleach will kill the slime mold and also help keep it from returning. When pouring the bleach, be sure to use a funnel that can easily fit into the opening on the drain line in order to prevent spills. Pour about one-cup of undiluted laundry bleach into each of the drain openings and allow it to sit undisturbed for about one hour.

  3. Rinse the drain lines — After permitting the bleach to soak the inside of the drain lines for one hour, pour several cups of hot water into the openings to wash out all of the bleach and to clean out the loosened gunk. Just be careful when cleaning to avoid needless splashing and always wear eye protection when working with caustic materials.

  4. Suction the drain lines, if necessary — Hopefully, after several cups of hot water, your air conditioner drain lines should be in top-notch, clean condition. However, if the buildup is exceptionally bad, then you should use a wet-dry vacuum to suction the lines clean. To suction them, simply slip the nozzle end onto the drain outlets of each drain line and turn on the machine. Keep suctioning until no more material can be "pulled" out of the clogged line. For more information, contact local professionals like Action Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.