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How to Clean Your AC Drain Line

By Teri Dormer


No matter how long and cold winter season seems, you’ll be switching the thermostat back over to ‘cool’ before you know it.

More than making sure your AC unit is still in good working order, knowing how to clean your AC drain line can help make sure you get to enjoy the warm summer months at a comfortable temperature without any interruptions. 

Calling a professional every time something goes wrong with your AC can get pricey pretty quickly, but keeping your AC drain line from getting clogged is something you can probably do yourself with the right guide. Here are five simple steps for a do-it-yourself AC line cleaner.  

Step-by-Step AC Line Cleaner 

If your AC drain line gets seriously clogged, you may have no choice but to call a professional to check it out. 

The good news is you can avoid that expensive situation altogether by cleaning your air conditioner drain line yourself once a month, and you probably have the necessary tools floating around your kitchen already. 

Keep Your AC Drain Line Clear 

Once you’ve ensured your air conditioner has been fully powered off (using both the thermostat and the breaker), the first step to keeping it from getting clogged is to locate the condensate drain line. Connected to the wall of your home, the drain line is a PVC pipe near the AC unit. 

Once you’ve identified the drain line, remove the cap from the access point and pour a quarter cup of vinegar into the drain line from the access point using a funnel.

The high level of acidity from the vinegar helps to flush out the buildup of detritus from inside the drain line of your air conditioner.

Let the vinegar sit in the access point for at least 30 minutes. Once the time is up, you can flush the vinegar out with water to validate that everything is working like normal. 

Repeat these five steps once a month while your air conditioner is running regularly. 

A Clean AC Drain Line 

Some new air conditioning units have sensors that can help alert you when the drain line has debris clogging the access point, so you can clean it out before major water damage sets in. 

If your HVAC doesn’t have one of these new sensors, making a conscious effort to clean your AC drain line once a month will avoid unnecessary repairs and help make sure your AC unit is running as efficiently as possible.

When the summer temperatures start to climb, you’ll be thanking yourself for these small time investment it takes to keep your drain line clear. 

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