Yard Drainage Solutions for AC Condensation Drain Runoff

Condensation drain on air conditioner unit
During hot weather, AC condensation drainage can become a problem in your yard.

My AC unit drains into the side yard, causing the clay soil to become very wet and boggy. What can I do to reduce the surface water? -Clayton

Correcting drainage problems in neighborhoods are tricky, because there’s always the risk that your solution will create a problem for someone else. It might be easier to have a landscape contractor analyze the situation and design a solution that keeps everybody in the neighborhood happy.

Whether you hire someone or tackle the problem yourself, your solution is likely to involve two components:

  • Rerouting the AC drain water
  • Improving soil drainage
Drain pipe in yard
Drainage pipes can be used to carry AC condensation drain water away.

Reroute AC Drain Condensation

Your first step is to route some of the drainage water elsewhere. Ideas include:

  • Aboveground Extension Pipe: The easiest solution is to attach an extension pipe or hose to your AC drain, then extend it downhill away from the house or into a thirsty flower bed.
  • Underground Drain Pipe: To hide the drain pipe, run the condensation drain into a buried drainage line, which can then be routed downhill and away from the yard.
  • Flexible drain pipe

  • French Drain: A French drain also routes water away underground, by allowing it to flow through a gravel filled trench.
  • Catch Basin: If the water is collecting in puddles, you can put a catch basin in the center. A catch basin is a buried box with a grate on top and openings for underground pipes to connect. Surface water runs into the catch basin and is routed away in buried drainage pipes.
  • Dry Well: If there’s no place to route the drainage pipes, you can construct a dry well at the lowest point. A dry well is a hole filled with gravel and rock, which provides a place for the water to collect and slowly seep into the surrounding subsoil.
  • Collection Bucket: If your air conditioner unit is high enough off the ground, you can route the condensation drain pipe into a bucket or rain barrel, then use it to water your flowers.
Filling a hole with water from a hose to test soil drainage
A soil perk test will help you determine how to improve drainage in your yard.

Improve the Soil

If the trickle from your AC unit is causing the ground to become boggy, your clay soil probably isn’t draining very well. To improve the soil’s ability to absorb water:

  • Soil Perk Test: An easy DIY soil percolation test can help you determine your soil’s drainage rate.
  • Top-dressing soil in a yard.
    Top-dressing the soil in your yard to improve drainage.
  • Aerate and Top-Dress Soil: Core aeration removes small plugs of soil, which allows you to top-dress the lawn to add organic matter. If you do this each year, you can slowly improve the quality of the soil and its drainage.
  • Grade Lot: If your yard is shaped like a bowl, you may need to consider having the land graded to give the surface water someplace to go. If you go this route, be sure to have a landscape contractor analyze the topography, to make sure the problem won’t simply be moved someplace else.
  • Open Up Yard: Thin the surrounding trees and shrubs to make sure the area gets plenty of air circulation and sunlight, so it can dry out.
  • Landscape Plants: Put that excess water to use by incorporating water loving plants that tolerate wet soil.


Further Information


  1. The overflow from our AC unit drips out of a pipe from the eave of our outside.
    I need a way to have this drain drip further from the foundation of the house.
    My husband put a clear flexible hose on the pipe extending from the eave. That worked great–but this summer he said he wasn’t going to put it back on because it didn’t look right.
    The water dripping at the foundation can not be good–solution, please. jan gole do not use my name on air–he may not appreciate me asking for a solution. Thanks

  2. I was deeply searching for a solution to my muddy yard around my AC unit. Finally, your article has offered me simple solutions to my problem. Thanks so much.

  3. I have a two story house, two air condition units and never notice so much water dripping fron the condensate pipes extending outside. It has caused a muddy condition that my dog loves to lie in. I need to know how to stop/prevent this muddy river.

  4. I’m building, but there isn’t any drainage for water in the area. How best can I solve this Problem? My neighbours seem to just pipe their waste water into the streets which is causing more damage than good … Please help. My place is situated in Lagos Nigeria.
    Thank you.

  5. At my parent’s house the AC unit leaks water and we need to figure out how to drain it. I’ve considered rerouting it, but I didn’t think about improving the soil drainage. We have never aerated our lawn, so that will probably be one of the first things I do on this project. Next, I will start planting. Are there certain plants that are more ‘water loving’ than others that would aid in the absorption of water?

  6. I dug a hole for a drainage pipe hose that is just out of the house. How deep should I dig it? It’s about a foot deep. I have not put pea gravel in it. The hole is almost full.
    Thanks for this site

  7. Richard,
    I’m familiar with putting the bleach in condensation pumps to kill the algae that can clog the condensation drain line. It’s probably the same reasoning in a gravity feed application.

  8. I own a portable a/c unit for my garage, which is insulated. It has never produced water drainage in the past, but produces about a bucket full per day the past month or so. I recently installed a hose into the unit to release the water and have it drain to the outside. The problem is the hose is just a tad bit long and lowers all the way to the floor, then upward about 10 inches towards an exit hole through my wall. Will it still build enough pressure to drain or is gravity working too much against me?

  9. My AC unit is putting out a lot of condensation from my mobile home…..I tried putting a garden hose on the unit but it seemed to backup the water….is there a certain length that you shouldn’t go past…..or maybe a corrugated pipe is the way to go…..larger opening……not sure about this but it seems to make the temp go up higher in the mobile home…is that because of the backup? We just moved and the new Park owners want us to get this under control and it seems like everything I have tried failed…I also dug a hole and put stone in it but it filled with water and overflowed rather quickly…..please help…….thank you

  10. I have an outside spigot that drips all the time. the landlord says it is condensation release from the ac unit and that it is supposed to drip. is this true??

  11. The overflow from our AC unit drips onto the roof from a pipe located under a window on the second story. The water is rusty and has stained the roof and the window casing. How do you fix this?

  12. Be care if your allergic (or for that matter not allergic) to Yellow Jacket Bee Stings. The condensate drip from you AC units is truly appreciated by the Queen Bee and her nest if you allow only the soil to get wet. Recommend making the dip outflow location into unbuildable bee or wasp nesting area (like small pebbles not brick because they will nest in-between them).

  13. I was looking for a solution for our a/c drainage dilemma and constant drought. We currently have a dry well that has lived its life & is now backing up. Rather than digging out & installing new pea gravel we would like to capture the water to irrigate our garden beds. Is there some method to accomplish this? We are on a flat grade. The condensate drain line is approx 15″ below the surface.

    • Hi, Bernard!
      That depends on your home, yard and topography.
      We suggest photographing the area and showing the images and area specs to associates at your local home and garden center.
      They can identify the best solutions for your home’s unique needs.
      Good luck. 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here