Updated: February 27, 2024

If you’re having trouble cooling down your home because water is pooling around the base of your air conditioner, it may be because clogs are building up in the drain lines. Unclogging the lines is easy, and you’ll feel a lot better when you’re able to cool your home down again! Here is how to unclog your AC drain lines in nine easy steps.

1. Turn Off Your Air Conditioning Unit

Before attempting to unclog the drain lines, you need first to turn your air conditioning unit off. This is to avoid electric shock and damage to the unit. Turn off the circuit breaker that runs to your air conditioning unit and unplug the unit. Do not skip this absolutely crucial safety measure.

2. Locate the Drain Line Pipe

You’ll need to find the drain line in your house and the one running to your air conditioning unit. This can be done by first locating and opening up any exterior or interior doors that lead from inside the house to the outside. The air conditioning drain line will look like a PVC pipe or hose leading from the unit, and it’ll have a cap on top of it. That cap will typically have identification letters on it, which you can use to trace where the drain line goes into your home.

3. Remove the Cap from the Pipe

The cap on top of the drain line should be screwed on lightly, so you don’t need to use any tools to take it off. However, if the cap is tough to remove, use a wrench or other tool to unscrew it.

4. Inspect the Pipe

Once you’ve located and removed the drain line’s cap, use a flashlight to look inside the drain line itself. You’ll see different materials clogging up at various points in the pipe. Depending upon where these clogs are located, you’ll have to clean them out manually to get rid of the clogs. You’ll have to find the clogged sections before you can continue.

5. Unclog the Pipe

You will have to clean out the clogs in the drain line to clear it. The method you use to do this depends on where the clogs are located. You can use a wire brush or simply a snake. How you do this depends upon how far down the drain line runs and how clogged it is.


6. Pour in Vinegar

You can also pour vinegar down the drain line to help dissolve any dirt or debris that is clogging it up. This will also help accelerate removing the debris and clearing out your pipe. Vinegar will also kill mold and mildew, which will help keep clogs from building up again in the immediate future.

7. Use a Wet or Dry Vacuum Cleaner

If you’re unable to unclog the drain line using tools and vinegar, you’ll need to use a wet or dry vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and debris. This will help accelerate the process of unclogging the drain line and help you get your AC unit back working again very quickly.

You attach the vacuum hose to the end of the drain pipe and suck up the dirt. You can use duct tape to seal the connection, then turn on the vacuum cleaner. Once you’ve sucked out all of the matter, you can turn off the vacuum cleaner. You can pour water inside the drain pipe and check if it runs all the way to ensure it is unclogged.


8. Replace the Drain Cap

After cleaning, you’ll need to replace the cap on top of the drain line. Make sure you replace it in the proper position.

9. Turn On Your Air Conditioner

Once the drain cap is back on top of the pipe and you’ve checked and made sure everything is in place, you’re ready to turn your air conditioner back on. Once it’s running, check to ensure the unit can cool your home down properly. If it still doesn’t cool your house down for some reason, give us a call at Ultimate Homes & Cooling, and one of our experienced AC technicians will help you get your AC unit running again in no time.

AC drain line unclogging should never be taken lightly. No one wants to face the muggy Florida summers with an air conditioner that is working at anything less than full power. At Ultimate Homes & Cooling, we’re your one-stop shop for AC installation, AC repair, and AC maintenance. We can also help you address indoor air quality issues and problems with your pool heater or pool pump. Give us a call today for more information or to schedule your appointment.

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