How to Clean Your A/C Unit’s Condensate Drain Line

Have you ever left your car out overnight and noticed that in the morning the entire windshield is wet? This happens due to a process called condensation. While it may not be as noticeable as it is on your vehicle’s windshield, condensation also occurs within your A/C unit.

Where Does Condensation Form on my Unit?

A/C units have many different working parts. Condensation is commonly found on the system’s drain line. This is a cylindrical line usually located at the back of your system’s box. Condensation forms on this part due to its exposure to differing air temperatures and humidity levels outside. Usually, water is visible on the outside of the line, however, in certain instances water can also be seen dripping from the drain line as well.

The Impacts of Condensation on Your Unit

It’s just a little bit of water, right? Yes, but a little bit of water can cause long-lasting effects on your A/C unit. This is why it’s so important to be observant, especially if you live in a location where temperatures and humidity levels can change in the blink of an eye. Here are a few levels that condensation can affect in both your drain line and in your A/C unit as a whole:

  • Mold  – this type of harmful bacteria tends to grow in humid conditions. If your HVAC system has condensation constantly running on the outside of its drain lines, it’s possible it could seep its way into the general airflow of your house. In turn, this creates an ideal environment for the growth of mold in your home.
  • Bad-smelling Odor – with the possibility for bacteria, the chances for unsafe air conditions and foul smells are always high. There’s nothing worse than a bad-smelling odor making its way into your home. Plus, it takes a lot of work to get these odors to go away. In some cases, it can take several months.
  • System Malfunction – a wet or clogged line could trigger other parts of your A/C unit to stop working properly. This happens due to the drain line becoming increasingly full, which in turn doesn’t allow it to carry out its proper function – draining any hydration inside your system. Once water overflows it will harm parts of your unit that are detrimental to the system’s overall functionality.

The Five-Step Process

Now that you have a better understanding of the type of impact condensation can have on your A/C, it’s important to practice the necessary steps for cleaning your unit’s drain line. Here is a simple five-step process for all homeowners:

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a towel, wet vacuum, distilled vinegar, dish soap (optional), and a funnel.
  2. Be sure your home’s entire HVAC system is shut off. This step is usually accomplished by a breaker located on the outside of your house. It could also be near the A/C system itself. Turning off your unit is critical to your safety throughout the process.
  3. Locate your drain line. Once located, find the entry point to the line. As previously stated, this line is usually located behind the box of your unit. The entry point is usually noticeable by its unique T-shape. Once you’ve found the entry point, you can remove the cover and examine the drain. If you find the drain holds a high amount of water, it will need to be flushed and cleaned. 
  4. Take the distilled vinegar and pour it down the funnel and into the drain. After you’ve finished this, you can use the dish soap to help leave behind a friendly scent.
  5. Once you’ve finished cleaning the line, be sure to dry off the outer pipes with a towel before replacing the cover over the line.

Though cleaning a drain line on your A/C unit is a task any homeowner can accomplish, it’s always a good idea to get the assistance of an HVAC professional. At Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, our technicians are equipped with the knowledge and tools it takes to make sure you have an efficient A/C system.

For more information regarding maintenance to your A/C unit, feel free to contact Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today! Reach us by phone: (770) 749-7667.