How And When to Replace Your AC Drain Pan?


Most homeowners that have AC systems in their houses think that it’ll be enough to clean and replace the filters when needed, however, there are other components that are often overlooked during the maintenance phase, and one of those components is the drain pan. If not maintained, it can cause serious and expensive damage to the overall system.

If you wish to ensure that your AC system works and that the environment and air in your house/apartment are healthy, you’ll need to clean the drain pan when required. But, if you’ve never done it before, you might be looking for some tips that could help you. Here is some info that can help you determine when you should replace the pan, as well as how you can do it:

What Are Drip Pans?


Before we reveal how and when you should replace the pans, it’s important that you learn what they actually are. To put it as simply as possible, they’re an extension of the evaporator coils located in the system. They’re quite similar to the radiator coils that you can find in your car, however, there is one difference – they’re located in a box. Their main goal is to measure out the liquid refrigerant and from there, they allow it to evaporate into the tubes, thus, they’re transformed from a liquid state into gas.

These coils are located on the inside of the unit. If you have an upright or vertical system, the coils should be on top and the drain line beneath them. If you have a horizontal system in your attic, it should be next to the system. You should know that, in most cases, units located in attics have 2 drip pans that have separate drain systems to protect it and your home from water damage caused by leaks. If you think that you cannot figure out where they’re by yourself, check this company out to see how they can help you.

When Should I Replace it?


The first thing that you should know is that drip pans won’t last forever, which basically means that they need to be replaced from time to time to ensure that the overall system functions properly. If you noticed that there are cracks and holes on the pans, if there is corrosion, and if your pan or several of them are generally old, it could lead to leaks, thus, the unit and your house could be subjected to water damage. If you notice any of these things, you should replace your drip pan as soon as you can.

How Can I Replace it?

Before you read on and see the steps we’ll mention below, you’ll, of course, need to purchase some supplies. Firstly, you’ll require a new pan, thus, you should learn the make and model of the AC unit you own. Besides purchasing a new pan, you’ll also need some pliers, gloves, protective glasses, rags, and, of course, a wrench. Once you purchase all the things that you require, you could start replacing the main pan:

Step 01: Shut The Electricity Off – you’ll need to shut the electricity off to the unit. This is something that you must do when repairing anything that is connected to electricity, thus, before you even touch it with the instruments we’ve mentioned above, ensure that you do this, especially since it’ll stop you from getting electrocuted. Once you turn it off, try turning the unit on to see if you’ve done everything properly.

Step 02: Expose The Pan + Coils – there should be an access panel that you need to remove and by doing so, you’ll find the pan and coils. Examine the pan so that you can see how it’s fixed into place. If it’s fixed by screws, you could replace it on your own, but, if it’s welded, there is really nothing you could do to replace it, thus, you’ll need to call a professional that’ll replace the pan correctly and without hindrances.

Step 03: Disconnect The Lines – if it’s not welded, you could start disconnecting the drain lines. This stage is relatively straightforward and relying on whether it’s attached by clips or screws, you should use pliers or a wrench to disconnect it. You should know, although it isn’t a difficult step, you should be careful when working, mostly because you won’t want to accidentally damage the surrounding components, thus, take your time during this step.

Step 04: Slide The Pan Out – once you unscrew the pan, you should carefully and slowly remove it. In most situations, there is mold inside of it, hence, you should really make sure that you don’t touch it. Because of this, you should wear protective gloves and glasses so that you can avoid touching the mold, dust, and dirt directly. It’s also recommended that you wear old clothes that you can simply throw away once you’re done.

Step 05: Install the New Pan – this is the last step in the process, one that’ll require you to install the new pan. When you remove and get rid of the old pan, you should gently put the new one in place. Depending on what it’s attached to the unit with, you should screw or clip it, and also, ensure that you do it properly, meaning that it should not move when you wiggle it around. During this stage, you’ll have to attach the drain line, and once you do, you’ll only be required to substitute the access panel and turn the electricity on.



Yes, it could be confusing and completely daunting to replace the drain pan of your AC unit, however, it’s possible without calling a professional to assist you. By deciding to follow the tips we’ve mentioned above, you could ensure that you properly change the pan, and more importantly, that you guarantee that the environment and air in your house or apartment are healthy.

By now, you most likely know what you must do in order to replace the pan. Thus, you really shouldn’t lose any more time reading articles such as this one, instead, you should gather all the instruments, gear, and components you require, and start replacing the drain pan of your air conditioning system!