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Recommend a shop vac?


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Summary: recommend me a wet vac I can use to suck all the nasty water out of my A/C pan.


So last summer I had issues with my pan under my A/C in the attic overflowing and staining my ceiling. This probably happened for a variety of reasons:


  • My pan for some reason leans to the opposite side of where it drains
  • Also for some reason the "kill switch" that cuts off the A/C when the water reaches a certain level was on the wrong side. So water was draining out the other end of the pan, and the kill switch was never switched.
  • The drain pipes are probably clogged up because as a first time homeowner I knew nothing of keeping A/C drainage pipes clean, so didn't do anything with them (pour bleach down them etc) for 6 years, until last summer.

I just moved the kill switch to the proper side of the pan, so I shouldn't have any more ceiling staining issues, but I still need to get the whole drainage system properly cleaned.


I'm working on various methods to check the drainage pipes and get them cleaned out. I've tried the thing where I go outside and spray the hose into the drainage pipe, but the network of pipes is so long coming out of my attic I don't think this will cut it. I'll probably need to turn off the A/C, suck all the water out of the pan, then dismantle the pipes and take them outside to clean them. This will be a lot of fun.


I've manually bailed out the pan with a cup and a bucket, but its impossible to get all the water out this way, and I really want to get it bone dry so I can get everything in the pan and pipes cleaned.


So, with all that said, I'll take any A/C pan cleaning/drainage tips you have, but for my immediate needs I need a vacuum that will easily suck all this water out of the pan. It has chunks of crap in it, I don't know what the chunks are but they are orange colored and terrifying.

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This little guy works great: http://www.lowes.com/pd_215726-20097-9302011_0__?productId=3339728&Ntt=shop+vac&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dshop%2Bvac&facetInfo=

I use it to suck the bilge of my boat dry after races and other wet use. Small, easy to handle, and great suck.

As for Hvac overflow. You should have two pipes. One from the condenser inside the unit to the outside world. If it gets plugged or the unit freezes up, water overflows to the pan. Pan should have a drain also. Use compressed air to blow out the clogged lines. Your garden hose from below should work also....just don't overflow back into the house.

Orange is just mold goop....no biggie. A little bleach will tame that. The main thing is to make sure the heat exchanger pan drain is clear....it's most likely clogged at the trap at the air handler. DO NOT use drain cleaner...it will eat the aluminum heat exchanger.

Edited by GrindingThud
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I use that same shop-vac for small jobs, like emptying out toilet tanks and bowls. It'll work great, won't take up a lot of space, and you'll find other uses for it. As for pan cleaning tips...You can buy large bleach pellets (hockey puck size) at pool supply stores. Put one in the pan and it'll usually last all season.

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