How Do You Maintain a Condensate Pump?

Posted by: Mas Broto
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Condensation pumps are connected to air conditioners to dispose of water condensate produced during the cooling process. This keeps the air conditioner from dripping in high heat. Maintaining a condensation pump properly keeps water from collecting and flooding the area where the air conditioner drains.

These pumps are very reliable, but they need regular maintenance to keep them from breaking down too soon. If a condensate pump doesn’t work right, water can overflow and cause a lot of damage. Mold and mildew can grow in your home if there is too much water in the air. Check your condensate pump regularly and clean it. Not only will it make your pump last longer, but it will also help you know when it’s time to get a new one.


If your condensation drain tube connected to the pump is clogged, check to see if algae are growing inside. Algae grow in wet conditions, so it is a common occurrence. To clean your condensation drain tube, run a wire through the tube to clean it. This will clear out any debris. If the algae are thick, you will need to kill them with a solution of 1 part bleach to 16 parts water. Pour this into the tube. Allow it to sit for an hour before rinsing the tube with water. Run your wire through again to remove any loose algae.

Leaking Pump

If water forms at the bottom of the air conditioning unit, your pump may not be functioning. Check if any tubes coming out of the pump are leaking liquid. If they are, you will need to replace them. Condensation pumps have a pan that collects water built into them. When water collects in this pan, the pump will start running. Try pouring water into the pan to see if the pump turns on. If it does not, check that it has power. If it does, then the pump may be broken.

If the pump begins running, but the pan does not empty, you should check to ensure the check valve, a ball-like object inside the unit is not stuck. Open up the check valve of the unit and see if it is blocked by debris.

Pre-season check

Before turning on your air conditioner each year:

  1. Check to ensure everything is in working order.
  2. Check that the pump and drain pipes are clear of debris.
  3. Disassemble the entire unit and scrub it with a cloth and liquid dishwashing detergent.
  4. Fill the unit with a bleach solution and allow the pump to run for several cycles to clear out any debris you may not see.

How to Check If Your Condensate Pump Is Working

If you notice water leaking when the air conditioner makes cool air, the condensation pump may not work properly. You can check the condensation pump by examining components when performing regular maintenance.

Ensure the pump and air-conditioning system are turned off before making any electrical repairs.

  1. Pour water from a plastic container into the pan for the condensation pump. If the pump does not start working, it may not have power.
  2. Verify that the power cord for the condensation pump is plugged into a working electrical outlet.
  3. Go to the circuit panel and see if a breaker has tripped or if a fuse has blown. Reset a tripped breaker or replace a blown a fuse.
  4. Examine the check valve, which is located near the discharge tube for the pump, if you see that water is not completely emptying from the pan.
  5. Turn the valve counterclockwise or to the left, using an adjustable wrench, to remove it. Loosen the ball inside the valve and verify it is free of obstructions.
  6. Replace the check valve and turn it clockwise or to the right to tighten.
  7. Verify that the drain tub is free of obstructions that can block water flow, such as algae. Clean algae from the drain tube by pouring water and bleach solution through the pipe.

If your condensate pump is not functioning correctly, it may need to be cleaned, repaired, or even replaced. Operating an air conditioning system is dangerous if the condensate pump on the unit is malfunctioning. Running the pump while it is malfunctioning may lead to water damage and costly repairs in the long run. Important care and maintenance for your condensate pump is the way to prevent major HVAC repairs.

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Mas Broto
Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.