Does your AC system's condensate pump require extra care? If you're not sure what a condensate pump does, where to find it, or how to make sure it's in top shape, take a look at what you need to know about air conditioning maintenance and your next AC tune-up.
What Is a Condensate Pump?
More specifically, what does your AC system's condensate pump do? This essential part of a central air conditioner helps to remove and expel water from the system. Air conditioners produce condensation (liquid water) as part of the cooling process. The condensation can't stay inside the system. This means the air conditioner needs a way to get rid of, or expel, condensation.
Condensation drains from the main interior AC unit and into a specialized pump. The water fills the pump's reservoir and lifts a float device. The float triggers the pump to expel the water. The pump may empty through a tube that goes into a basement sink/tub, your home's exterior, or a drain.
Where Is the Condensate Pump?
This part of your home's HVAC system is located near the central interior unit. While different pumps may vary slightly in size or color, the pump is a smaller plastic box that you can find on or just above the floor—to one side of your air conditioner.
Is the Pump Part of AC Maintenance?
Simply stated—yes. Like the rest of your home's air conditioner, you also need to care for and clean the condensate pump. While condensate pump care isn't complex, this is a job the novice DIYer should leave to a professional. An HVAC contractor has the knowledge, experience, and equipment to inspect and maintain the pump correctly. If you've never cleaned/cared for the pump, talk to the technician about maintenance before your next air conditioning tune-up service.
Why Should You Care for and Clean the Pump?
Regular AC maintenance can increase your system's efficiency and lifespan. It can also reduce the risks of premature wear, damage, and the need for potentially pricey repairs. Failure to regularly clean and care for a condensate pump can leave the tank moldy or cause clogs. Not only can this damage the pump, it can potentially cause significant water damage.
Mold and other debris can clog the drain line that exists the pump. Without a way out, the water in the tank can overflow and flood your home. While the amount of water in the typical pump tank won't cover your basement (or other AC area), it could damage anything nearby or the flooring under your air conditioner.
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