Unclog Your A/C Drain Line With This Simple Shop Vac Hack
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Unclog Your A/C Drain Line With This Simple Shop Vac Hack

May 10, 2023

If you notice standing water near your air conditioning unit, your drain line may be clogged. Clogged drain lines can cause your air conditioning system to freeze, and you may end up with water in your home if the drain pan starts to overflow. Whether you're already dealing with a clog or you're cleaning your drain line to prevent one, there's a TikTok hack that will help you clear your drain line with ease. With just a shop vacuum, you'll be able to get rid of any debris stuck inside the tube.

The hack, posted by TikTok user @jmg8tor, shows how to attach a shop vac to the end of your drain line and use the suction from the vacuum to pull out any gunk that may have built up. It's important to note that a regular vacuum will not work as well since it may not be powerful enough, and the water will damage it.

Clean ac drain line

You'll first need to locate the drain line, which is typically a PVC pipe that comes out of an exterior wall near the air conditioning unit. If your vacuum has a smaller hose, it should be able to fit securely over the pipe. You can turn it on for 30 seconds to a minute, and the materials blocking your drain should ooze out.

While it's explained in the video that there's no need to turn off your air conditioner, this may not always be the case. If you're simply cleaning your drain line to prevent clogs, leaving your unit on probably isn't a big deal, but if you already have a clog, letting the unit run can cause more water to be drained and could make it more difficult to unclog the line. While some newer air conditioners shut themselves off if there's a clog, older models may need to be turned off manually. You can also shut it off from the breaker to ensure it's not running.

If the shop vac you're using doesn't fit tightly over your drain line or isn't getting enough suction, you can use duct tape or a towel to secure the vacuum to the pipe. A more serious clog may not come loose after running the vacuum for a minute, but you can continue turning the vacuum on in a few short increments, under 30 seconds, until the line unclogs.

To prevent clogs, it's important to clear out your drain line a few times every year. If you notice a build-up of algae in your drain pan, it could eventually get stuck and clog your line. You can pour ¼ cup of vinegar down the access point of the drain line and let it sit for 30 minutes before turning your system on again. This will weaken the material and make it easier to extract. Whatever is stuck inside your air conditioner's drain line, this shop vac hack is a quick and easy way to clear it and ensure your air conditioner is running smoothly.