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How Big Should Your Condensate Drain Be In PVC?

How Big Should Your Condensate Drain Be In PVC?

All condensation from the air conditioner should correctly flow into the condensate drain. You frequently ponder whether PVC size is best for your condensate drain line because of this.

The correct sizing of the condensate drain line requires an inner diameter of at least 3/4 inches, or 19 mm. To promote better draining function, this shouldn’t get smaller between the drain pan connection and the condensate drainage.

You can discover a lot of important information below. One of them is the right PVC pipe sizing for your particular AC system capability. So make sure to read them all.

How Should A Condensate Drain Pipe Be Measured?

It’s more complicated than you might think to size your condensate drain line. It entails a careful evaluation of various important elements, such as whether the pipes comply with the regulations for installation.

Make sure the pipes you’re about to instal are approved to manage the pressure, temperature, and liquid discharges from the condensate system that could be harmful.

Additionally, the capacity of your air conditioning system should be proportional to the length of your condensate drain pipes. All you have to do is adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

You should follow the company’s recommended pipe materials and diameters if they are provided. By doing this, you can help guarantee that the condensate drain line in your air conditioner will function at its best.

However, the standard condensate drain pipe sizing chart is provided below for each cooling system tonnage:

  • 3/4 inch pipe diameter is 20 cooling capacity tons.
  • 1 inch of diameter is 21–40 cooling capacity tons.
  • 1 1/4 inch diameter size is 41–90 cooling capacity tons.
  • 1 1/2 inch diameter size is 91–125 cooling capacity tons.
  • 2 inch diameter size is 126–250 cooling capacity tons.

Is The Correct Size Required For My AC Drain Line?

The size of the drain line affects how well the condensate drain lines function in terms of disposal. You should also be aware that the required size of the condensate pipe is determined by your local construction code.

Make sure to adhere to it now that you are aware of the optimal PVC size for your condensate drainage. For the safety of your appliance and general draining effectiveness, do this. Additionally, if the appliance’s condensate outlet size is larger than what you have, utilize the larger PVC size.

How Should Condensate Drain Piping Be Constructed?

The best materials today for your air conditioner’s condensate drainage are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) schedule 40 and 80. The pipe’s wall structure’s thickness is indicated by the schedule size.

The following additional piping materials are available for condensate drainage:

  • ABS
  • PEX
  • Steel
  • Forged iron
  • Copper

The majority of commercial, residential, and even industrial pipe systems for air conditioning use these piping materials as the accepted standard. PVC is, after all, the most economical piping material out of all of them.

Which Type Of Pipe Is Stronger, PVC Or CPVC?

How Big Should Your Condensate Drain Be In PVC?

PVCs are unquestionably more practical in terms of economical piping materials and are also more durable. In contrast to PVC, CPVC pipes have a much higher tolerance for acidic chemicals.

The PVC pipes can withstand a variety of corrosive acids up to a service temperature of 140°F or 60°C. In addition, PVC can be used for both pressure and non-pressure piping purposes, aside from your condensate drain line. However, it possesses a weak level of resistance to things like solvents and chlorinated hydrocarbons.

In contrast, because of the additional chlorine in CPVC, it is significantly more durable than PVC. Because of this, CPVC can tolerate pressure and temperatures up to 200°F (93°C), or both. Additionally, CPVC pipes are as effective in elevated water distribution locations.

How Far Away From The House Should The Condensate Drain Line Be?

Some homeowners occasionally neglect to correctly route their condensate drain lines outside. The condensate drainage is frequently sent outside without leaving enough space between the house’s walls or foundations.

Keep in mind that when your air conditioner runs continuously in the summer, a lot of moisture is produced. You don’t want the moisture that collects around your walls or foundation from your condensate drain pipes.

As a result, it’s crucial to run your condensate line a minimum of 12 inches away from the walls or foundation of your home. The majority of HVAC professionals advise leaving this gap in order to protect the structural integrity of your home.

Where Should Condensate Waste Be Dumped?

In addition, find out how far your condensate drain line needs to be from your residence. It’s also crucial to know where to dispose of your condensate waste.

Any appliances that create liquid discharge waste must drain their waste directly into their sanitary drainage systems, per the 301.3 connection to drainage system code. Additionally, stay away from dumping your condensate waste in a public space or anywhere else that will inconvenience others.

Does My Condensate Drain Pipe Need Insulation?

Experts claim that there are now no regulations requiring you to insulate your condensate drain pipe. Although it is not specified in the building codes, your local government may occasionally recommend or even mandate it.

In any case, such mechanical system pipes must adhere to the pipeline insulation criteria of the codes. As a result, insulation is required for any pipes that transport fluids with a temperature level of 105°F (40°C) or lower than 55°F (13°C). The ideal pipe insulation should be at least R-3 in thickness.

Are Additional Drain Pans Necessary For Condensate Pipe?

There should be an additional drain pan for every cooling device and evaporator coil. To prevent damaging the essential parts of your structure, you must stop the overflowing condensate with an additional drain pan or a separate drain pan. Where condensation is common, put the auxiliary drain pan underneath.

Additionally, maintain the pan 3 inches (76mm) or at least 1 1/2 inches (38mm) larger than the coil’s width and length. Additionally, materials that are extremely corrosive resistant should be used for the auxiliary drain pan. Keep the thickness of your galvanised sheet steel pans at 0.0236 inches (0.6010 mm) or greater, if you choose to use them.

Use only pans with a thickness of at least 0.0625 inches, or 1.6 mm, in nonmetallic pan materials. In your condensate drain pan, you can without a doubt mount a water detecting device.

By doing this, you can save the inconvenience of routinely checking your drain pan. As soon as the water level in the drain pan reaches a particular level, this mechanism will immediately cut off the power to the apparatus.

How Can A Clogged AC Drain Line Be Cleaned?

How Big Should Your Condensate Drain Be In PVC?

It becomes nearly hard to prevent blocking your AC drain pipe over time. Every time air passes through your evaporator coil, several types of small debris are susceptible to collecting in your air conditioner’s drain line. Well, if you’re up to it, don’t worry! Cleaning the drain line for your air conditioner is a simple process.

Here, we’ve provided a straightforward procedure with steps to help you:

  • Turn off the power to your thermostat and air conditioner first.
  • Look under your condenser unit outside in the PVC drain pipe.
  • Remove the cover of the PVC. You can just take a hand and pull it away; no tools are needed.
  • If you thoroughly inspect the drain line, any dirt accumulation should be obvious.
  • Remove any dirt that can be seen inside the drainage system, being careful not to push it farther down.
  • To remove any accumulated filth, slowly pour vinegar within the drain line.
  • Before reattaching the drain line, replace the cap on it.
  • Your thermostat and breaker should both be turned on.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes before restarting your air conditioner before turning it on.

Although this cleaning process is straightforward, frequent maintenance will lower the likelihood of an AC drain line clog.

How Frequently Should Your Condensate Drain Line Be Cleaned?

How Big Should Your Condensate Drain Be In PVC?

The general practise is to perform a thorough inspection once a month to avoid this problem from occuring. You may need to check your AC system’s drainage even more frequently during the summer, when it runs nonstop. Keep in mind that it is always preferable to make a small effort than to require an expensive repair in the future.


Your condensate drain line’s overall draining efficiency will increase if you know what size PVC pipes to utilise in it. By carefully following the detailed recommendations we provided above when choosing the ideal PVC size for your specific cooling system capacity, you may avoid draining problems.

How Big Should Your Condensate Drain Be In PVC?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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