How to Clean your AC Drain

CONGRATULATIONS! If you have read all 8 lessons of our series “How Your Air Conditioner Works”, then you have officially graduated! Write yourself a diploma and proudly display it on a prominent wall of your home. The online classes (without homework, we will emphasize again) that we referred to as “AC 101” are now over, and summer vacation is here! You deserve a break! But if you missed one or two lessons then it’s time for summer school, and here is a quick shortcut guide to all eight of the lessons.

How about celebrating by cleaning out your air conditioner drain. If you are reading this, then you are waiting for this follow up to Part 8 of AC 101, where we said we would give you tips for cleaning the condensation drain of your homes central cooling system. We can’t think of better way to use your free time then getting your hands dirty, keeping your system running smooth, and feeling good later about the hard work.

Regardless of whether you have one or two condensate drains, here’s the steps to get them draining properly. Before you do anything else, turn of the power to your air-conditioning system. Don’t just use the thermostat to turn it to the “OFF” mode, but rather shut off the circuit breaker or power disconnect to the indoor and outdoor units. This will keep the cooling system from turning on while you go through the following steps, but more importantly, will prevent you from getting injured if you were to accidentally touch a wire or terminal inside the units.

  1. Start with a shop-vac, also called a wet/dry vacuum. If you are dealing with a clogged line, this a simple way to get that clog cleared out. Clogs in a condensate drain line on a residential central cooling system are generally caused by a build-up of algae. The shop-vac can pull that out of the pipe. Keep in mind that once the line is clear, it is possible there will be build up of algae in the drain pan that may now be able to flow into the recently cleared pipe. And that could cause it to clog again in short order.
  2. Clean out the drain pan. What do you look for? The drain pan will obviously be wet, but it should not have standing water. If there is water puddled up in the drain pan then there is a problem with the drain. Hopefully the step above will have solved that. The shop-vac will also be helpful here at the indoor unit, although depending on the location, it may be more difficult to access with a wet-dry vacuum. Use rags if you need to. Then clean out the pan with a mild mixture of water and dish soap. As a note of caution, be very careful working around the indoor coil since the metal fins on it are very delicate. Even a slight bump on them will cause damage.

We’re going to move on to the next steps, coming right up. However, if you already are uncertain about how to follow these first two steps, then don’t hesitate to contact your favorite trusted heating and air conditioning service company. GAMA Air has many satisfied customers in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area. If you need our assistance, and want to find out about our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, then give us a call now at (323) 655-6126, or use our online form to schedule a visit.

Would you like to ask a question about heating or air conditioning but don’t know who to ask? Visit our Ask an Expert page, fill out the form, and the resident expert here at GAMA Air will get back to you quickly with the answer.

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