4 Reasons for an AC Condensate System Failure

10 March 2023
 Categories: , Blog


Your home's air conditioner creates a lot of condensation inside the unit. The condensate system is there to prevent moisture from collecting and leaking, as this could damage the AC or your home. 

1. Malfunctioning Float

Inside the condensate pump reservoir is a float sensor device. As the accumulated condensation collects in the reservoir, the float rises on the water's surface. The pump is triggered to begin running when the water level raises the float high enough to trigger the motor into operation. Sometimes the float gets stuck and doesn't rise with the water, so instead of being pumped safely away, the water overflows out of the reservoir and creates a mess. Your technician will determine whether the float can be repaired or if a new pump is necessary.

2. Failed Pump Motor

Another common reason for overflowing in the reservoir is pump motor failure. If the motor isn't running, then the pump can simply operate. In this case, the float is moving on the water surface as it should, but the motor won't power on. In most cases, the entire condensate pump will need to be replaced. Sometimes, there is a minor electrical issue preventing power from reaching the pump, which may mean you can keep the pump after a small electrical repair.

3. Line Damages

Drain lines are necessary to route the water away from the AC unit and from the house when the pump is running. Any damage can lead to leaks at various locations, depending on the problem. A line clogged with debris or algae, for example, will lead to an overflow at the condensate pan under the AC unit. If the problem is a hole in the line, then the leak will be somewhere between the drain line and its final destination. Clogged lines can be cleaned out while damaged lines will require replacement. 

4. Drain Pan Clog

The drain pan reservoir usually sits beneath the AC unit. This is where the water ends up before the condensate pump kicks on and begins to empty it out via the drain lines. Occasionally, dirt and debris make their way into the drain pan, clogging the drain before the water can even begin to flow into the drain line. A good cleaning of the drain line is needed. Cleaning out the AC seasonally helps minimize debris buildup in the first place. It's also a good idea to keep landscaping around the AC trimmed back so that less debris can make its way into the unit. 

Contact an air conditioning repair service for help or for more information.