3 Common Causes For An AC Condensation Pump That Isn't Working

Central air conditioners rely on evaporator coils inside the furnace or air handler. The coils take in liquid refrigerant and change it into a gas, which causes the coils to become cold and are able to cool the cycling air blown in from your home. This phase change causes condensation, which drops into the bottom of the air handler and into a drain pain. The condensation then either drains straight down your drainpipe, if you have a gravity system, or more commonly has a condensation pump that routes the water into the drainpipe.

If you have started experiencing leaks around your air handler, there is likely a problem with your condensate pump. The problems tend not to pose any threat to your system at large but you might still want to call in a heating and cooling tech – and a plumber – before experiencing any related water damage.

Here are a few of the common causes of a malfunctioning condensate pump – and how the problems can be corrected.

Pump Motor Went Out

When your air conditioner is running, can you hear the condensate pump operating? Is the water level going down at all in the bottom of the drain? If the answer to both of these questions is negative, then your condensate pump's motor might have stopped working. You will need to have a new condensate pump installed.

If you have a lot of handyman or handywoman experience, you might be able to install the new condensate pump yourself. Turn off all electricity to the unit and take the old pump with you to the hardware store to make sure you buy a like model replacement. Follow the directions in the new pump to guide you through the installation.

Don't feel comfortable installing the pump? No problem! Call in an HVAC technician to replace the pump and to perform a general system serving while there.

Excess Condensation

Is the pump working but can't seem to keep up with the water supply? Your evaporator coils are likely producing too much condensation. The abundance can happen due to dirt on the coil surface or due to an imbalance in refrigerant that is causing the coils to become too cold.

You can clean the coils using a commercial foaming cleanser designed for air conditioner coils. Follow the package directions and allow the cleaner to soak for the recommended period of time. This is a no-rinse cleanser so you can simply check to see if the dirt is gone and then reassemble your system.

Are the coils still dirty? Call in an HVAC tech for a professional cleaning or coil replacement. Do the coils look clean? Call in an HVAC tech to check on your levels of refrigerant.

Drain Clog

Are your coils clean, your pump working, and the water still isn't budging at the bottom of your air handler? There could be a clog in the drainpipe that's causing the backup.

You can try to remove the clog yourself using a commercial chemical drain cleaner and/or a rented auger. Or you can call in a plumber to check the pipe for blockages and any other potential problems such as cracks or mineral buildups.