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How to Clean AC Drain Line: Vinegar or Bleach

Having an AC unit in your Florida home is essential for keeping comfortable during the hot months. But when your AC drain line gets clogged, it can lead to major problems – which is no fun!

Did you know that it’s easy to clean your own drain line at home (and prevent it from getting stopped up at all)? Using common household items like vinegar or bleach, you can eliminate clogs on your own and get your cooling back ASAP!

Today, we’re going to look at how AC unit drain lines get clogged and what you can do to fix your issue. As always, if this quick fix doesn’t work, you should call a local HVAC professional to take a closer look at your system!

How Does an Air Conditioning Drain Line Get Clogged?

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When your air conditioner system cools your home, it removes moisture from the air during the process. Condensation from the evaporator coils has to go somewhere: to the condensate pan. From here, the water exits your home over time through the AC drain line.

However, where there is moisture in Central Florida, there’s mold. If the air conditioner drain line isn’t cleaned regularly, enough buildup of bold can lead to leaks in your air conditioner (or can shut the system off entirely).

Signs that You Need to Unclog the Drain Line in Your Air Conditioning

Some newer HVAC systems are actually designed with sensors that warn you that your drain line has a clog – letting you fix the problem before it gets any worse.

However, older systems won’t have these sensors, so you’ll need to know what to look for. Signs of clogged AC drain lines are:

  • If the drain pan is full of water, it means that the excess condensation isn’t dripping into the pipe. Check the condensate pan when you change your air filters.
  • If your air conditioner won’t turn on (or shuts off unexpectedly), it can mean that the drain line is clogged, overflowing, and tripping the float switch. This will turn off your AC and keep it from turning back on.
  • If there is standing water near the air conditioning system, it means that the drain line or drain pan has probably overflowed and is causing water to collect. This can lead to costly repairs, water damage, and mold growth.

None of this sounds good, right? Well, don’t worry. Luckily, you can clean your AC drain line with bleach or vinegar (or even peroxide) to dissolve the clog and remove any bacterial buildup.

Before You Start!

Note: Make sure that you aren’t getting any on the metal parts – especially if you’re using bleach or vinegar. Both can cause corrosion if you leave undiluted vinegar or bleach on metal surfaces.

However, it should be easy to avoid splashing either if you use a funnel or measuring cup. Wipe down any vinegar or bleach spots from the metal surfaces before switching your system back on.

How To Clean Your AC’s Drain Line

The easiest way to clean drain lines is with a bit of bleach or vinegar. It only takes 5-10 minutes to clean your system and remove any mold or mildew, and when you’re done you will be able to use your AC system even better than before!

Three Easy Steps to Clean Your Drain Line with Vinegar/Bleach

  1. Turn off your AC. Always do this before cleaning any part of your system! We recommend turning off the thermostat and the breaker to be safe.
  2. Find the condensate drain line on your system. This is a PVC pipe that goes from the indoor unit to outside your home, near the outdoor unit. With an indoor air handler, you may also find the it inside near the inside system, in the air handler closet.
  3. Remove any blockage or debris from the end of the drain line. You can use a cloth or stiff brush.
  4. Then, remove the plug or cap from the access point (the T-shaped vent) and slowly pour either 1 cup of distilled vinegar or 1 cup of bleach solution into the drain line.
  5. Wait for 10 minutes to 1 hour for the blockage to be dissolved, depending on the severity of the clog. Replace the cap.

Note: Do not mix vinegar and bleach when cleaning anything. This can cause chlorine gas poisoning; if you accidentally mix bleach and vinegar while fixing your clogged drain line, exit the area immediately and wash any body parts or clothing that came into contact with the solution.

Always be safe when using household cleaners!

Prevent a Clogged AC Drain Line with Vinegar

Struggling with your AC condensate drain line? Clean your AC drain line regularly using these steps to keep your air conditioner drain line clean and improve your AC’s performance!

Having Trouble with Your AC Drain Line?

If you still are experiencing leaks or AC system issues, it’s time to call the professionals! Call Cool Rays Air Conditioning for quick fixes to your HVAC system, including repairs, routine maintenance, and replacements. We can make sure that you’re back up and running as soon as possible!

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