No Water Coming Out Of AC Drain Pipe: 6 Causes+Fix

The air conditioner is the common solution for seeking relief in the burning summer. If your AC is not draining water, it must result from certain faults. If you want to know the common causes and fix them, you are at the right place.

If your AC unit is not draining water, check the drain pipe. Inspect if it is clogged. Unclog the drain pipe to fix the issue. Other causes include a frozen evaporator coil, disconnected drain line connection, and condensation pump faults. Inspect these and replace them if needed. 

In this article, you will learn common causes of why your AC drain pipe is not dripping and steps to unclog the clogged drain pipe. So, Keep reading.

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What are the signs of a clogged AC drain pipe?

It’s not to deny that a good AC unit can provide relief after a tiring day, especially during summer. 

But the struggle is real when the AC unit poses issues when you need it the most. 

If you have noticed that the drain pipe is not draining water, it may be the cause of the faults in your AC units. 

A clogged drain pipe is the major cause of why the AC unit is not draining water.

Not sure if the clouded drain pipe is the cause of the issue? 

Here we go!

Below listed are the common signs of a clogged AC drain pipe:

  • Complete shutdown of the AC unit. 
  • Water leakage near the AC unit. 
  • No efficient cooling. 
  • Bad odor near the AC unit. 
  • Your housemates are getting allergies frequently. 
  • Reduced airflow in the AC unit. 
  • The drain pan is overflowing. 

If you notice any of these signs in your AC units, you can confirm that the drain pipe in your AC unit is clogged.

The potential health hazards caused by a clogged AC drain pipe

A condensate drain pipe of the AC unit runs through the walls and ceilings by being connected to the outdoor installation of the AC unit. 

The cold coils suck the humidity into the house, which is expelled through the drain pipe. 

If the drain pipe is clogged, the excess water will stagnate in the AC unit and reduce airflow. 

Due to the stagnant water, there will be mold and bacterial growth.

In addition, algae start to spread in the long run. 

Due to mold and bacterial growth, serious health problems occur. 

It is well-known that mold usually grows in damp areas.

When the drain pipe is clogged, it becomes a favorable environment for mold growth, and it starts producing the infectious substance which people eventually inhale, causing health hazards like asthma, eye itching, 

And persistent sneezing issues. 

And bacterial growth causes harm to humans by releasing toxins into the air, causing headaches and fatigue. 

People with low immunity can be easily affected by inhaling the infected air. 

Another possible issue occurs due to the invasion of cockroaches and other harmful insects as the environment is favorable for their growth.

It becomes a threat to health when these insects spread allergic particles into the air resulting in health hazards. 

Severe health hazards are common if the clogged drain pipe is not cleaned for a long time.

The impact of clogged drain pipes on energy efficiency

As discussed already, the main role of the drain line is to expel the condensation collected by the evaporator coil.

Because of this, the condition of the AC drain line is important to keep the humidity in your home in control. 

If the drain pipe is clogged, it will reduce energy efficiency. 

It affects the AC unit because the water damage due to the clogged drain pipe will damage its entire functionality. 

You will have to replace the entire unit.

And also, clogged drain pipes will freeze the AC unit.

Water will be retained in the unit, eventually freezing the condenser coil. 

When the condenser coils are frozen, the unit will have low airflow.

It will result in reduced energy efficiency. At times, overheating occurs in the AC unit, and it will shut down. 

If there is moisture in the drain pipe, a clogged drain pipe will freeze the moisture, resulting in the complete shutdown of the AC unit. 

The drain pan in the AC unit will start to overflow and affect the functionality of the AC unit.

Causes of clogged AC drain pipes

There are several causes why drain pipes are clogged.

Here are the common causes mentioned below.

1. Loose drain line connection

If your AC drain line is not draining water, it may be due to the disconnected or loosely connected drain pipe.

The drain line pipe is the medium connected with the interior of the AC unit to the outside of the home to expel excess moisture.

PVC pipes are drain lines that extend up to the outside of your house. 

When you notice your AC is not draining water, check if the drain pipe is loosely connected with the air handler or completely disconnected.

In such a case, tightening the drain pipe with the air handler will solve the issue.

If the drain pipe is tightly secured with the air handler, there will be a smooth flow of water from the AC unit to the end of the pipe.

2. Drain pan corrosion

A drain pan is usually made of metal or plastic, which differs based on brand and model. 

It is located below the evaporator coil to accommodate any excess moisture that results from the condensation process occurring in the process of cooling the house. 

The drain pan may be corroded if you have used the AC unit for the longest time. 

If the drain pan is run, see if you can clean the rust.

Detach the drain pan from the AC unit and clean it thoroughly using sandpaper. 

If you see cracks or damages in the drain pan, you must replace the drain pan. 

Hire a professional to replace the drain pan if you are not familiar with working with the electrical appliance. 

If the drain pan is cracked, the water will start leaking near the AC unit, damaging both the AC unit and the ceilings.

3. Condensate pump issues

The condensate pump is an important part of the AC unit, which pumps the condensed water to prevent it from dripping onto the floor. 

If the condensate pump is faulty, it won’t pump the water to the drain line pipe. 

So, check if the condensate pump is faulty, and replace it to fix the issue. 

4. The evaporator coil became frozen

As already discussed, the evaporator coil is continuously exposed to water.

So, there are more chances of corrosion in the evaporator coil. 

If the evaporator coil is rusty, the condensation water will start leaking, and it will cause damage to the AC unit.

And it also causes damage to the walls and ceilings. 

Frozen evaporator coils became inefficient in bringing the water to the drain pipe. 

The AC unit will not cool the house properly when this issue occurs. 

Due to the excess heat, the people who inhale the air will have more chances of illness. 

Another threatening issue is a short circuit caused when water leakage occurs due to the water leakage. 

It also leads to the complete shutdown of the AC unit.

So, it is important to check the evaporator coil. 

Hire a professional to check and replace it if it is completely damaged. 

5. Dirty evaporator coil

There are more chances of the evaporator coil getting trapped with dirt and debris particles.

If the evaporator coil is dumped with dirt, the water will not flow to the drain pipe.

As the water is stuck stagnant, there will be a leakage in the AC unit.

To fix this issue, you must clean the evaporator coils regularly.

6. Poor maintenance

It is important to clean the evaporator coil and the drain pipe regularly.

If you don’t clean it often, the dirt and debris will accumulate and cause a clog in the drain pipe. 

If the drain pipe is clogged, the AC unit will cause issues.

In the later part, let’s discuss maintaining the AC unit. 

These are the common reasons for the AC unit not draining.

DIY methods for unclogging AC drain pipes (Fix)

Follow the steps to unclog the AC drain pipe in your AC units. 

1. Gather all the tools

Before starting the cleaning, gather all the necessary tools.

When you gather all the tools, it will be easy to do the cleaning without hassle. 

These are the list of tools you need to unclog the AC drains.

  • Wet dry vacuum
  • Duct tape
  • Garden house
  • Water
  • AC drain line wire
  • Vinegar

Gather all these and start the cleaning process to unclog the drain pipe. 

2. Turn off the AC

Begin by disconnecting the power supply to the AC unit by turning off the circuit breaker.

It is important to ensure safety, as unclogging the drain pipe with the power supply connected will cause electric hazards. 

Access the circuit breaker supplying the power to the AC unit and turn it off.

3. Access the front panel

The front panel is the outer cover of the AC unit.

Locate the screws at the top, bottom, and side of the AC unit. 

Using a screwdriver, unthread the screws to detach the front panel. 

The location of the screws in the front panel will differ based on the brand and the model of the AC unit. 

You can access the internal parts of the AC unit by removing the front panel.

4. Check the drain pan

When the clog occurs in the drain pipe, you can see a drain pan filled with water, and overflowing is also common. 

You have to clean all the water using a towel and sponge.

Remove the water completely and check for any dirt and debris accumulation. 

Prepare a vinegar-cleaning solution or soap solution to remove the dirt. 

Pour the cleaning solution into the drain pan and clean the drain pan completely.

Cleaning with vinegar will help keep the drain pan and eliminate mold and algae growth.

5. Clean the drain hole

Near the drain pan, you can find the drain hole.

Inspect if there is dirt and debris accumulated in the space. 

Insert the drain line wire into the hole to remove all the dirt and debris particles. 

If you don’t have the drain wire, wear gloves on your hands and clean it manually.

6. Inspect the drain pipe

You can see a drain pipe near the drain hole.

One side of the drain pipe is attached to the condensate pan, and the other is attached to the exterior wall of the unit. 

Inspect if there are clogs in the drain pipe.

Unclog them if they are blocking the smooth water flow.

7. Remove the clogs in the drain line

Follow the steps below to unclog the drain pipe:

  • Use a vacuum and seal it with the help of duct tape. Plug in the vacuum and remove all the dirt and debris from the drain pipe.
  • Insert the drain line wire into the drain pipe and turn it around it. Doing this will break the clog. It would be best if you did not push the wire in the direction of the air handler, as it may damage the AC unit.
  • Next, you can use a garden hose to water the pipe. Water pressure from the hose will unclog most of the dirt and debris.
  • Now, prepare the vinegar solution to clean the drain line. Run the vinegar solution in the drain pipe and let it soak for 30 minutes. It will help to remove the stubborn dirt accumulation. 

8. Clean the drain line with water

After cleaning the drain pipe with vinegar, run the water throughout the drain pipe to remove the vinegar residue. 

You can confirm that the drain pipe is unclogged if the water flows freely.

9. Reassemble your AC unit

After unclogging the drain pipe, reattach the front panel to the AC unit and close the vent with the cap. 

If you can’t unclog the drain pipe, consider hiring a professional to do the job.

How do I maintain an AC unit to prevent clogged drain pipes?

When you maintain the AC unit properly, you can prevent clogs in the drain pipes.

Here are a few tips on maintaining the AC unit to prevent clogs in the drain pipe:

  • Clean the air conditioner’s air filters regularly. It accumulates lots of dirt and dirt while doing the filtering process. It would be best if you cleaned it regularly to prevent clogs.
  • Run clean water through the drain pipes regularly. Flushing the water often will remove dirt and debris and prevent clogs.
  • Consider installing a condensate trap to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. 

The difference between a clogged AC drain pipe and a malfunctioning AC unit

A clogged AC drain pipe will cause leakage issues and reduce airflow, resulting in the overheating of the AC unit.

At times, it completely shuts down. In contrast, the malfunctioning AC unit will produce unusual noises, warm air, and high electricity bills.

Final words

If your AC is not draining water, it will completely shut down the system. So, it is important to fix the issue immediately. Check the drain pipe is clogged. Unclog the pipe with the vinegar solution to remove the stubborn dirt and debris accumulation. 

Clean the air filter regularly to prevent dust and debris accumulation. Follow the steps mentioned in the article to unclog the drain pipe. 

Check the interior components of the AC units, like the evaporator coil, pump, and drain pan. If any of these are defective, replace them to resolve the problem.

What is the cost of repairs for a clogged AC drain pipe? 

The repair costs range from $75 to $250 based on whether you hire a professional to do the job.

Is the water supposed to come out of the AC drain line?

When the air conditioner is turned ON, the condensation process is initiated, resulting in water dripping into the drain line.

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Arthur Smith

Howdy! I am Arthur Smith, an electrical engineer who is extremely passionate about electronics. I have lived in different parts of the US and currently reside in Wisconsin. I am one of those rare children who knew what he wanted to study and do in life right from the start. I was a curious child who wanted to know how switches work and how the AC works, and I would always observe my dad whenever he would handle the wires and fix things around the house. I currently work as an electrical engineer at a reputed company and write for this blog. And I read loads of books or play video games in my free time.

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