How to unclog air conditioner drain – frugaldad.com single or double kitchen sink

A couple months ago I detailed the travels of harold the helicopter’s journey to the bottom of our guest bathroom toilet, and the subsequent DIY plumbing project I undertook to rescue him. It wasn’t exactly a fun project, but I did learn more than I ever wanted to know about the anatomy of a residential commode, and I saved a ton of money I would have had to find a plumber for the effort.

When a suspicious drip formed above our back door I knew it was again time to channel my “tim the toolman” skills and get to the bottom of it, without searching angie’s list for an air conditioner repairman. I soon found myself in the attic staring at a nearly-overflowing air conditioner drain pan. If you have a portable air conditioner then you probably will not have to worry about this drainage issue, but if you have central air then take note.


I suspected a problem with the air conditioner drain since when the drip started it had not rained in a few days. I checked the main air conditioner drain pipe which comes out of the side or our home and noticed it was draining, but not with as much volume as it typically did. In fact, a small puddle had formed in the past and I added a piece of 1″ PVC pipe to extend the drain away from our foundation. I accessed our attic via the garage and found the air conditioner’s main evaporator unit. The pan underneath the unit was nearly full of water, which I knew was a problem. The source of the drip was a secondary drain pipe connected near the top of the pan and running to the back of our house with an exit just above our back door. The kitchen sink trailer deutsch I was thankful the builder and air conditioner installer put the secondary drain’s exit in a high-visibility spot so homeowners would know there was a problem.

I’d been wanting to pick up a small, inexpensive wet/dry vac for small garage spills, and fortunately a local home improvement store had one on sale. I picked up a stinger-vac (just a mini shop vac) for under $30 and returned home to put it to use. Lucky for me, the stinger’s hose attached perfectly to the 1″ PVC drain pipe and began to immediately suck out water and sludge that had accumulated inside the pipe. As it filled I simply dumped the water in our yard, reattached the vacuum and started it up again. After a few cycles I assumed I had made a dent in the amount of water from the pan and returned to the attic to view my progress. This time I carried a container of household bleach with me.

If I had taken this step earlier in the spring I could have probably avoided this near-disaster, but better late than never. I accessed the air conditioner’s drain by removing a PVC cap on the top of drain pipe by hand. If the pipe was properly installed, this cap should only be tightened by hand and can easily be removed and replaced without any tools. I added a little bleach to the drain pipe to clear away any accumulated algae and mildew. Installing a kitchen sink in a laminate countertop going forward, I will make this part of my checklist to prepare our home for summer.

My total material costs for the project was $32.09 for the stinger shop vac. We had bleach on hand so I didn’t factor this into the cost. The whole process of unclogging the air conditioner drain took about an hour, and saved me from having to make a $50 service call to our air conditioner repairman. For a net savings of roughly $20 I am now the proud owner of a mini shop vac.

Our recent projects (my wife usually helps out) have included repainting the entire inside of our house (it was a hideous pale pepto-bismol pink when we moved in

I and several friends of mine have a handyman circle. We all tired of paying such high fees to plumbers, electricians, and the like several years ago. However, some projects, such as any plumbing that involves copper pipe, require specialized skill and tools that are often not as cheap as $30. When one of us learns that skill, we become the trainer for the next project that requires it; once any of us has purchased a tool, we all know it has been purchased and now have it in the common pool of tools we have available. Worth doing with your neighbors, I believe!

Anyway, I was outside taking out the recycling when I noticed that the water wasn’t draining as quickly as is should from the A/C drain pipe. I went inside and poured in some bleach, but it didn’t drain. It was at this point that I freaked out a little. I imagined huge repair bills, because even a service call is outrageous, and I was wondering how I could possibly pay it right now; I just bought a new couch for said house, and my kitten is being neutered on tuesday, but I digress. I was lucky enough to own a shop vac, which I purchased a couple months ago to vacuum tile dust out of my garage from our total house re-flooring, and the bleach was free too, thanks to a robust supply of laundry products.

I dumped my shop vac’s mini-bucket twice and the sludge was quite a sight. The bleach and water I dumped in drained perfectly- tomorrow, after the bleach clears a little, I plan on dumping some vinegar and hot water down the line, and I’m adding this to my monthly chore list. Can you flush the line too often? I live in orlando, FL., and algae and sludge is quite a problem in our humid climate- would vinegar/hot water twice monthly be too much?

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Once I read your article and looked at your pictures, I knew exactly what to do. You are so totally awesome #128578; my drain pipe was totally clogged with mud for several inches. It is just an opening in the wall with no pretty pvc piping, but once I noticed there was no pvc piping, I saw the opening in my brick. I know I didn’t do everything just right, but I think it is totally clean now. I used a spoon and bendable haxsaw blade for length to dig out the mud. I made sure the blade was NOT facing the direction I was turning it. Once I finally saw a good amount of water in the mud, I used my rainbow vacuum cleaner’s water suction hose to clear out the rest of the muck. I may have messed up by spraying water into the hole, but I wanted to make sure I had it cleaned out totally. After spraying the water, I suctioned out the water again with the rainbow until it quit pulling “stuff” out. The two pipes at the air handler were not backed up, but there was a small puddle where condensation had pooled. I had noticed last year that water was dripping from the air handler inside, but didn’t realize that was a problem until I read your article. I didn’t even have to make a trip to the hardware store. So cost was $0.00!!!! You have made my weekend a happy success. Kitchen sink plumbing rough in dimensions thank you again!

IT IS ALMOST DAYBREAK I HAVE TOO, BEEN SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS SOLUTIONS TO MY AC PROBLEM W/H2O BACKING UP THRU THE OPEN PVC PIPE WHERE I FEED IT A CUP OF CLOROX EACH MONTH. I HAVE STUCK WIRE CLOTHES HANGERS PIPE CLEANERS THRU THAT OPENING WHERE THE H2O IS LEAKING OUT( NOW INTO A BUCKET, AFTER SOAKING THE CEMENT FLOOR THE CARPET AREAS AS WELL), IN MY FINISHED BASEMENT. I DISCOVERED THIS @ MN, WHEN I CAME DOWN TO THE BASEMENT TO CLEAN OUT LITTER BOX ES FOR MY CATS. TOO LATE TO BE CALLING MY HA GUY, SO I TOO WENT TO THE INTERNET IN HOPES OF FINDING OUT WHAT WAS CAUSING THE H2O BACK-UP. AS YOU WELL KNOW, I DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE UNTIL I FOUND YOU. YOU WERE MY GOD SEND, B/C I HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR HIS HELP, HE ALWAYS COMES THRU FOR ME EVERYTIME I ASK FOR HELP, BY WORKING THRU PEOPLE LIKE YOU. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR GOOD INFO HOW WELL YOU PRESENTED IT, IN WAYS I NOW UNDERSTAND. THE OTHERS, WHO POSTED THEIR COMMENTS WERE HELPFUL AS WELL. NOW I DON’T FEEL SO ALL ALONE! IT’S DAYLIGHT NOW, SO LET ME GO TAKE A LOOK @ MY OUTSIDE UNIT TO SEE IF THERE’S A PIPE I CAN CONNECT MY HOSE TO, TO TRY FLUSH OUT THE BLOCKAGE. IF THAT DOESN’T WORK, PLAN B: I’LLGO GET ME A SHOP VAC, IF THAT DOESN’T WORK, THERE’S ALWAYS PLAN C: CALL ON MY HA GUY. THANK YOU-FRUGALDAD THANK YOU-JESUS! DONNA S.

Found mold growing inside my linen closet yesterday and wet carpet in the back corner of the closet as well. There were no pipes nearby, so I suspected a roof leak. My hubby went up in attic and found the a/c unit pan overflowing with chunks of insulation floating around in the pan. The water had soaked down into the wall of the closet. What a mess! We drained the water from the pan using the shop vac, then tried using it to suck out the line and nothing budged (yup, there was insulation in the pipe causing the clog). Finally pulled the hose up into the attic, inserted it into the pipe (sealing carefully so no water would back-up into attic) and turned the hose on. Installing kitchen sink plumbing it worked! The chunk of insulation was flushed right out. The pipe terminates under the eaves on the side of the house. I actually have 2 a/c units, one on each end of the house, so we will be checking the pan on the other unit tomorrow. We still need to have the mold removing folks (serv pro) come out to remove the drywall and repair the damage to the linen closet and floor. I’m considering having a float switch installed in the drain pans as someone previously suggested. Since we have 2 units, having 1 shut off wouldn’t be a critical problem and it would certainly be preferable to dealing with mold in my walls! Thanks to everyone for all their helpful suggestions and insight!

I’m soooo happy I found this site. About 5 days ago my niece heard water running. Immediately my heart sank because I knew it had to be a clogged a/c drain. I work and usually let the ac run so it’s cool when I come home. I had just changed the filter a couple of weeks ago. Water had soaked the wood holding the ac unit and water heater and had soaked the new filter. It took 3 days to completely dry out. (thank goodness I bought 2 filters at the time.) now to deal with the real problem. I have a “t” connector and pvc pipe goes into slab in concrete beneath closet. Tried the blow thing to dislodge the clog (covered it as I’m a germ-a-phobe). LOL. It didn’t work. Kitchen sink garbage disposal not draining anyway, the thought of dragging the hose in and possible more water totally freaked me out. Well, thank goodness I read this site. I went out and got baking soda, white vinegar, clorox, and salt. I was going to try everything before the hose or had to call a pro. Clorox first: got a mug, poured it almost full, covered and heated for 1 min in microwave ( saw this posted by someone here). Cut a cheap water bottle as funnel and poured into “t”. The clorox came up where I could see it and I got nervous. Figured it was going to take 8 hours (another hot night). Well, to my surprise as I was closing the closet I heard gurgling!!! Woohoo!!! It worked. I poured a mug of hot tap water into the drain and again heard it run out. Yay! Thank you all. I’ll now make sure I routinely use the clorox.