Where Is The AC Drain Pan Location?

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Updated May 17, 2023

To perform regular maintenance on your top-rated air conditioner, you need to locate the drain pan on your AC unit. The AC drain pan collects water under the cooling coils. It can get clogged with dirt, so it’s important to keep it clean to prevent damage. A professional may need to help you clean it.

Checking your drain pan should be a part of your annual air conditioning maintenance. Like a dirty air filter, a drain pan failure can impact your home cooling process. Luckily, if you’re wondering “where is the drain pan on my air conditioner?”, you don’t need a service tech because this guide will walk you through it.


  • The drain pan catches condensation from your AC evaporator coil and guides it to the condensate drain pipe.
  • The drain pan is typically connected to the evaporator coil inside the air handler.
  • If you find standing water in your drain pan, you likely have a clog in the condensate drain line.

In terms of air conditioning service, finding your drain pan is necessary to clean an AC drain with vinegar. Of course, you may need to know how to unclog an AC drain line before you can clean it. This is important to help prevent mold in your air conditioner. In addition, you can diagnose unwanted issues by learning the parts of air conditioning equipment and where they are. For example, it shouldn’t take an experienced technician to locate the contactor on an AC unit.

Insider Tip

Finding excess water in the AC unit is the most apparent drain line symptom of a clog.

Where is the AC Drain Pan?

You can find two different drain pans in your AC unit. The primary drain pan is underneath the evaporator coil and sits inside the air handler. There is also an auxiliary drain pan beneath the air handler, and you’ll only see standing water in it if there’s a clogged drain line.

What Does the Air Conditioner Drain Pan Do

The drain pan catches the water droplets from general humidity and the evaporator coil in the AC unit. This water passes through the drain outlet near the outdoor air conditioning unit. If you see water accumulation in the drain pan, it signifies a clogged drain outlet.


If you ignore a clogged drain line, you can cause water damage to your home and make your air conditioning process less energy efficient.

What if I Have a Clogged AC Drain Line

If you suspect a clogged drain line, you should test it. Try to pour a gallon of water down the condenser drain inside the access panel. If the water doesn’t immediately travel through the pipe and out of your home, you have a clogged drain.

You can contact a professional technician or snake the drain to unclog the condensate drain. To prevent future clogging, pour 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar down the condenser drain about once per month. And while you do this preventative maintenance, learning how to straighten AC fans is a good idea, too. It would also be smart to know the signs your AC is too small so your unit isn’t running unnecessarily.

STAT: According to a 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey, 23% of Americans use air conditioning systems between 5 and 9 years old. (source)


How do I inspect the condensate drain line?

The condensate drain pipe is a white T-shaped PVC pipe that leads to the outdoors. You can find your drain line near the indoor air handler in a utility closet or attic. Look for cracks, a water leak, or signs of damage along the entire drain line leading from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit.

Is vinegar good for an AC drain line?

Over time, mold, algae, and bacteria growth can cause a condensate drainage issue or a wholly clogged condensate drain pipe. Many experts recommend white vinegar for your drain line cleaning. You can pour 1/4 cup of vinegar down the condensate drain every couple of months, especially during the strenuous summer season.

How do you clean a condensate drain pan?

Cleaning the condensate drain pan and line is a recommended part of regular maintenance for your AC unit. Cleaning the drain line prevents clogging and allows water to leave your HVAC equipment efficiently. Experts recommend cleaning the pipes with vinegar, but you can use bleach or soapy water to clean the drain pan.

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