How to Unclog Your Condensate Drain Before Calling a Professional

By in ,
How to Unclog Your Condensate Drain Before Calling a Professional

The condensate drain, also called the condensate line, is an important component of your home’s AC system. It functions to remove water or condensation away from the evaporator coil. For a mini-split system, which has indoor air handlers, the condensate drain moves the moisture to the outside. If the water isn’t draining properly due to a clogged condensate drain, the unit can freeze internally, causing major problems like preventing the unit from cooling your home completely or efficiently. 

Some newer AC units may have sensors that indicate a clog in the condensate drain. If your unit is older or not equipped with a sensor, there are signs to look for if you suspect you may need to unclog the AC condensate drain.  

  • The drain pan is full of water.
  • The AC unit shuts off completely or won’t power on.
  • There’s a musty smell near the indoor unit or emitting from the vents.
  • The AC isn’t cooling your home as before.
  • You see evidence of water leaks or damage around the indoor unit.

If any of these indicators are present, you could attempt to unclog the condensate drain on your own before calling the professionals at Merts Heating & Air Conditioning. It’s very important you have the proper tools readily available and that you do each step to thoroughly clear the line.

The first step you need to do is TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE UNIT. To avoid death or serious injury, this must be STEP ONE. Once the unit is powered off, you can try the remaining steps.

  • Take a stiff brush to clear out any debris that could be at the end of the line, which is typically located outside near the condenser unit.
  • Attach the end of a wet/dry shop vacuum suction wand to the end of the condensate line and secure it with duct tape. Turn on the vacuum and hopefully clear the clog.
  • If the drain pan is full of water, you’ll need to then head indoors with the shop vacuum to clean it out completely, including using soap.
  • Next, locate the vent tee, which connects the drain pan to the pipe. Remove the cap from the top of the line.
  • Use the stiff brush to clear any debris from the tee.
  • Wearing rubber gloves, carefully pour 1 cup liquid bleach and 1 cup water into the tee and into the line. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. 
  • If you have a buddy helping, have them go outside to check for drainage coming from the pipe. If you’re working alone, you’ll want to place a bucket at the end of the line to check for proper drainage.
  • Finally, pour more water into the line, and check for proper flow. If it is flowing, great! You’ve unclogged the condensate drain.

If after completing the above steps, you still have a clog, it’s definitely time to call Merts. Our trained HVAC technicians have the expertise to properly unclog the condensate drain, quickly and efficiently.