How to Clear a Clog in the A/C Condensate Line

How to clear a clog in the condensate line on your air conditioner

Things you’ll need for the job:

  • Wet/Dry Vac
  • 3/4″ hose attachment

Before getting started, be sure to check out the following video to familiarize yourself with the process:

1. Locate your A/C’s condensate line. In most cases this line will be located outside of the home and near the condensing unit, just look for a 3/4″ wide piece of PVC piping. In most cases you’ll see a small trickle of water coming from the pipe.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 6.22.00 PM
The condensate pipe probably looks something like this.

2. Attach the 3/4″ hose attachment to your wet/dry vac. Simply take the 2 1/2″ end of the attachment and slide it onto the end of the wet/dry vac hose.

3. Attach the wet/dry vac hose to the end of the condensate line. Simply take the smaller end of the attachment and slide it into the end of the condensate line.

4. Remove the paper filter from the wet dry vac. It’s a good idea to remove the paper filter before turning on the vacuum since the water coming from the condensate line will ruin the filter. Simply open the lid of the vacuum and remove the filter.

5. Turn on the wet/dry vac, and let it run for five minutes. Now that you’ve connected the hose of the vacuum and removed the filter it’s time to clear out the line. Simply turn on the vacuum and let it run for approximately five minutes.

6. Turn off the wet/dry vac and dump the contents. By now the condensate line should be clean and clear and the vacuum should be filled with dirty water from your A/C system. Simply remove the lid and dump the contents into either the lawn or nearby storm drain. It’s also probably a good idea to use an old rag and wipe out the inside of the vacuum.

If you’re looking for more ways to make your home more energy efficient, be sure to check out our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Photos courtesy of the Flickr Creative Commons, Paul’s travel pics and Today’s Home Owner.


About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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