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How to extend your AC drain pipe

If your air conditioning drain line is causing a wet, mucky area in a heavily trafficked space, it’s easy to reroute. Here’s how to extend your AC drain pipe somewhere else.

Here in South Carolina, it gets hot… really hot. And it stays that way for an extended period of time.

For six months straight, our air conditioning runs almost constantly from sun up to sun down, putting quite the strain on our system.

When a working air conditioner is functioning properly, it creates a lot of condensation in the air handler that is in your attic. From there, there is a drain pipe that runs out of your house and drips water outside.

With our unit running all summer long, there is almost always a constant stream of water coming out of the drain pipe on the side of our house.

For most people, that might not be a problem, but ours was draining right in front of the gate between our back and front yards, creating a wet, muddy mess we had to walk through.

We decided to figure out the best way to extend our AC drain pipe away from the house to an area we aren’t walking on.

If your AC drain line is dripping water to an area outside your home that you don’t want it to be, here’s the easiest way to extend your AC drain pipe somewhere else.

How to extend AC drain pipe - Charleston Crafted

The best way to extend your AC drain pipe

Keep in mind that we are not air conditioning professionals, so if you feel like your AC system is leaking an extreme amount, you should contact an AC repair company to help you out.

This method for extending your drain line to another area outside of your home to change where the water is coming out.

This can be used if you are like us and your drain line is creating a mess somewhere it shouldn’t, or if you want to actually put that water to use with your plants.

Let’s answer a couple of questions about air conditioning drain lines and talk about how to change where they drain to.

Before we do, make sure you grab your outdoor home and garden maintenance checklist to keep your yard in good shape!

Extended drain pipe in yard

Is it normal for AC pipe to drip water outside?

It is completely normal, and expected, for an AC unit to drip water outside.

Your AC indoor unit will have a drain pan and drain line where condensation buildup will drip and drain out. If this drain pipe gets clogged, you’ll know because the water won’t be dripping outside via the drain line and your AC unit will probably shut off via a float switch.

If you have clogs in your drain line, you can clear it out by blowing air through or sucking it out with a shop vac, but you may be better off calling a professional.

But, if your air conditioning system is working properly, the AC drain pipe outside will be draining condensation.

AC drain pipe dripping

Where should AC drip pipe be run?

An AC drip pipe should be run to an area outside of your home, away from your foundation.

As it was, our drain pipe dripped constantly and was only inches from our house, so that wasn’t good as it was. It needed to be moved anyways.

Wet area in front of gate

Ideally, your AC drain pipe will drip to a runoff area or onto concrete.

Our house was built with a slope off each side of the house, as was our neighbors, so there is a slide runoff area built in for water to flow after a rain.

You could also have an AC drip pipe intentionally directed toward an area where you want water, such as a garden bed.

Check out how to build a simple garden bed for your yard!

How to extend AC drain line with PVC pipes

The easiest way to extend your AC condensate drain line is to create an extended path with PVC pipes and fittings.

To do this, you need to determine where you want the runoff to go. Three common places are a garden bed, a runoff area on the property line, or toward the driveway.

For each of these, you need to simply create an elongated PVC pipe that slopes to where you want the water to run. As long as you keep the line moving at a downward angle, you can run the drain pipe wherever you want.

What you need to extend your drain pipe:

  • angled PVC fittings
  • PVC pipe long enough to get where you want
  • PVC cement

Start by attaching a 45 degree PVC coupling to the end of your existing drain pipe in the direction you want to run the water.

AC drain pipe extension

Then, attach pipes and fittings as need to get where you need to go, always ensuring a downward angle.

For us, we added a PVC extension directly down to the ground and then ran that pipe across our side yard to the runoff drainage area between our house and our neighbor’s house. You’ll need a PVC cutter to cut those lengths of PVC and you can get one here.

Cutting PVC with PVC cutters

From there, we added a 90 degree coupling and a short extension of PVC pipe to drain the water into the runoff area.

Extended AC drain pipe outside

Once we had it all figured out, we dug up a very shallow ditch in the line of where the pipe was going so it would sit flush with the ground and not stick up.

Ditch for drain pipe

I’d also recommend doing this entire process just dry fitting the PVC pipes and making sure it works as you hope. Make sure that it is angled right, the water still drains, and where you’ve chosen to drain it works well. Then go back and add PVC cement to all the joints.

PVC cement used for PVC skeleton

Now the water is draining out into the runoff area. We are getting a bit soggy here now, so we’ll need to figure that out, but it’s soggy where it’s supposed to be soggy, so it’s working properly.

You can also angle this toward a raised bed garden or along the side of your house until it drips out onto your driveway, where it will run off without issue.

We also used PVC to put together a DIY extra large PVC skeleton for Halloween!

Other yard drainage solutions for dripping AC pipe

There are other ways to fix the issue with your heavy draining AC pipe, but these will be more involved than simply extending the line.

You can install a French drain that will collect the water underground and run it away to another area. This method will require a lot of digging and a lot of money in supplies.

You could also attempt to collect the water and use it in other places. We actually originally did this, thinking it would be a great idea, however the bucket filled up completely in a day and ran over. I think this would be a great idea if your system didn’t run quite as constantly as ours does.

Before you go…

You might want to check out our home maintenance checklists that help you keep track of everything you need to do month-by-month to keep your home in its best shape!

How to extend AC drain pipe - Charleston Crafted

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