How to Clean Your AC Drain Line

Your HVAC system does more than just provide air conditioning and heating for your home. Beyond temperature control, your HVAC system also works to make your home comfortable by controlling moisture levels. This is especially important for us Floridians, considering we live in the most humid state in the country.

To control moisture levels, your HVAC system removes moisture from the air, which collects as condensation on the evaporator coil. This condensation drips into the condensation pan, which then travels through the condensate drain pipe before it lands outside of your home. Phew — got all that?

Although liquid is the only thing that runs through the condensate drain line, over time, algae and other types of debris can build up within the drain line and cause your HVAC system to function inefficiently. Luckily, with a little HVAC-know-how, you can clean out your AC’s drain line in 15 minutes using a few supplies you probably already have at home!

3 Signs Your AC Drain Line Is Clogged

Before you follow our easy how-to guide, look for these signs to ensure your drain is clogged:

1. The most common sign of a clogged AC drain line is water dripping from the AC unit.

2. You also might notice water coming from the exhaust fans or the bottom of the cabinet.

3. If you don’t notice any water dripping from the unit, you will still likely see water spots around the fans or cabinet. Be sure to pay close attention to any damage to your carpet or furniture located near your AC.

How to Clean Your AC Drain Line in 6 Steps


  • Rags or small towel
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap, distilled vinegar, or a general cleaning solution
  • Funnel
  • Wet/dry vacuum


Step 1. Turn off the power to your HVAC system.

Step 2. Locate the condensate pan. The location depends on your HVAC system, but most condensate pans are located directly under the inside unit or directly under the outside component of your air conditioning system.

Step 3. Use a wet/dry vacuum to clear the clog. If there is excess water in the condensate pan, the drain line might be clogged. Clearing a clog is simple, all you will need to do is vacuum the clog and excess moisture with a wet/dry vacuum.

Step 4. Clean the drain pan. Once you’ve removed the excess water, clean the drain pan using warm water and soap, distilled vinegar, or a general cleaning solution.

Step 5. Locate the drain line. To clean the drain line, locate the drain line’s access point, which is usually a small vent covered by PVC piping.

Step 6. Flush the drain with cleaning solution. Once you’ve found the drain line, remove the cap and inspect the drain. Using warm water and soap, vinegar, or a general cleaning solution, flush the drain and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

Need Help Cleaning Your AC’s Drain Line?
Contact an HVAC professional

Broward: (954) 800-2858
Palm Beach: (561) 701-8274
St. Lucie: (772) 879-5656

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Need Professional AC Maintenance? Call us to Schedule Service

Keeping your air conditioning system’s drain line clean is an easy way to uphold your system’s efficiency for years to come. You may however be more comfortable having a professional maintain your air conditioning system for you. At Sansone, we offer a variety of products and services designed to keep your HVAC system in top-performing shape.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your air conditioning system, whether it’s insufficient drainage or another problem, our professional technicians are here to help.

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