When your air conditioner is not working as well as it should, the first thing you may suspect is that there is something wrong with the unit itself.

However, before you call a technician, there are some things you can check on your own to try to diagnose and solve the problem. One of those things is whether or not the AC drain is clogged.

This guide will help you identify if the AC drain is clogged, What Happens If AC Drain Is Clogged And How To Solve It.

what happens if ac drain is clogged

What Happens If AC Drain Is Clogged?

An air conditioner produces water while cooling your room. This water is removed through the AC drain. If the AC drain is clogged, the humidity of your room air may increase while water may overflow and cause damage as well. 

The water produced in an air conditioner has to pass through the drain line. If the drain line clogs, the water can’t be removed. So it becomes vapour again and causes an increase in humidity which might cause uneasiness and make the room frowsy.

If the water is not drained at all, that might bring about overflow in water which could damage your room wall, floor and cause rust and many other problems. It will damage your house and have a chance to occur in any other accident also.

Closed water in the house is also unhealthy and might be a container of germs and insects. Moreover, moisture in the room can cause the growth of mould and mildew in the room, causing health hazards.

What Is An AC Drain Pipe?

The work process of an air conditioner is exchanging heat. It absorbs heat from a room and removes it. Water vapour in a room is also taken in by the AC, so it also absorbs humidity. So it also creates humidity while cooling air inside it.

This humidity becomes liquid because of the cold environment inside the AC and turns into water. This water is contained in a pan in the Ac, which is called a drip pan. The water eventually carried to the bottom of the pan.

A drain line is connected at the bottom of the pan, known as an AC drain line or condensate line. These lines are generally made of metal or plastic. It carries the water from the pan and takes it out of your home. 

Why Is An AC Drain Line Necessary?

An air conditioner reduces the humidity of the room by collecting water vapours from the air. This vapour or moisture is removed with the AC drain line. It helps to prevent your AC from being iced up.

Without an AC drain line, the moisture inside the home would find no way to go away. So it’ll build up inside the room, which might cause an increase in humidity, rust in metallic appliances, and growth of mould and mildew.

So you must check the AC drain regularly and keep it working. This way, you will find out right away if there is any clog in the AC drain line. And if you discover anything like that, take immediate action to resolve it.

Find Out If An AC Drain Is Clogged

It’s not very hard to find out if there is any clog in the drain line of your air conditioner. Several signals indicate a clog has appeared in a condensate line. Be aware if any of them start to emerge.

Your air conditioner might drip water if the drain is blocked. Overflowed water from the drain pipe might create standing water around the AC. Check it immediately if you notice the presence of standing water.

However, because of the AC, overflowing water might evaporate faster. This will make it challenging to notice water presence. So, look for water damage around the house.

Your floor might have water stains. Wall might get discoloured. The floor or wall might look or feel wet. Leakage in the wall could cause severe damage to your house. 

The higher presence of moisture in the room can cause rust and mould around the house. Check unusual rusts in metallic components. Water can also cause moulds and mildews to grow. This can cause an outdated, musty smell.

Finally, your AC might act unusually. Many modern manufacturers include an automatic shutdown system in case of a water leak. Check if your AC keeps getting turned off repeatedly.

There might be many other symptoms to indicate a jam in the condensate line. Check anything you feel suspicious about.

Is It Okay If There Is Water In The Ac Drain? 

When the conditioner is in normal conditions, a drip of water will be produced, but it will dry up very soon for warm weather.

It is pretty standard if your Ac discharges 5-20 gallon water, but it is not normal if the water from your air conditioner is drained inside the Ac unit.

What Causes The Ac Drain To Clog

After an air conditioner accumulates moisture from a room, the humidity goes into the AC evaporator coil. This moisture carries the dirt or airborne particles to this coil. 

While dripping off from the coil, these particles and specks of dirt keep accumulating in the AC drain.

Eventually, the dirt clogs the pipe entirely.

How Can You Unclog An Ac Drain Line?

Cleaning and unclogging a condensate pipe is not so tough. If you discover the AC drain to be blocked, in most cases, you can clean it yourself without the need for any outside help. 

You can remove your AC drain blockage very easily by following some simple steps. You’d need some materials first to clean the blockage. They are- purified white vinegar, a measuring cup to measure, a wet or dry vacuum.

If you’ve gathered the materials, go along with the following instructions cautiously-

First, shut your Air conditioner off. When You work with the drain, it might be wet. So you should cut off the electric connection of your AC and also your house circuit breaker panel for safety reasons.

After turning it off, Locate the drainpipe of the air conditioner. The drain line is made of PVC and is covered with a cap made of plastic. You will find it where the Ac condenser unit sits.

Next, take off the cap from the top of the pipe. It is a standard cap. So, you won’t need any tools to open it; a simple pull is sufficient for it.

After taking the cap off of the pipe, check if you can see any rubbish trapped in the drain. It is mandatory to make sure if any garbage is detectable in the drain, which might cause the blockage. If you don’t see it with your bare eyes, then use a flashlight to see appropriately.

If you see anything, then get rid of it very carefully. Sometimes the rubbish falls accidentally and disrupts the work.

Then you have to pour in some vinegar and replace the cap. After cleaning the dust, take a cup of the white distilled vinegar we talked about earlier and pour it slowly into the drainpipe. Wait for twenty to thirty minutes, and then you can turn on the air conditioner again.

Also, a wet /dry vacuum is better to use. If there is too much rubbish and any kind of water is trapped in, use a dry or damp vacuum to clean it.

Be cautious while cleaning the pipe. Never use bleach or any kind of household cleaners to clean the line. It can cause damage to your air conditioner and mess up your home. 

Though the method of cleaning is straightforward, if you want a smooth service from your air conditioner and lower your electricity cost, you must clean your Ac with the help of an expert, which is a professional technician in this case.

What Is The Cost Of Unclogging An Ac Drain?

Most of the time, you would be able to clean the AC drain all by yourself. But if you notice anything odd or any damage on the drain, you should call a certified technician and take expert help.

The cost depends on the work you require. It can also vary depending on how much of it was damaged, how much materials you need. 

Generally, to clean the drain, you have to pay 75$ – 250$, but if the coil needs to be replaced, you have to pay 400$ – 950$. 

It is satisfactory to do it all by yourself. But it is wise to take expert advice when needed. Do not take any risk if you’re unsure what the issue is.


You might face many problems if the AC drain is clogged. So check your AC drain on a regular basis and clean it whenever needed. It will keep both you and your AC safe and running in a healthy environment.

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