Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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Innovative Pump Unclogs AC Condensation Drain Lines

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The power of the Internet continues to amaze me. About three years ago, Danny and I taped a Simple Solutions segment that showed how to use a wet/dry vacuum to unclog the drain line of a central air conditioning unit. Seemed like an innocuous enough tip; boy was I wrong.

Shortly after the tip aired, it was posted on todayshomeowner.com as AC Drain Clean Out. Since then it’s been viewed more than 70,000 times, and we have received over 100 comments, questions and suggestions from visitors to the site. Apparently people all over the country are very unhappy with their central A/C units. I never realized that clogged condensate lines were such a huge concern.


Mighty Pump clears A/C drain clogs.

Unfortunately our Simple Solutions tip couldn’t help every homeowner with a leaky A/C unit. Partly because not every air conditioning system is installed the same way, so gaining access to the condensate line can be extremely difficult or even impossible. And since there’s an infinite number of installation methods, it’s not possible for us to answer every question or concern posted online. I feel bad about that because I always make an effort to answer questions from viewers and website visitors, but in this case it just isn’t possible.

However, I did learn that we have a very loyal following of fans for both the website and TV show, Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. They’re passionate about maintaining their homes, and trust the information they receive from us. As a member of the Danny Lipford team, I couldn’t ask for anything more than your confidence and loyalty.

I also discovered that information at todayshomeowner.com flows in both directions. Here’s a perfect example. This past March we received an online comment from Donna about a product called Mighty Pump, which is a hand pump that’s specifically designed for clearing clogs from A/C condensation lines.

I had never heard of Mighty Pump, so I called and spoke with the company’s president, Stuart Oakner, and found out that the product was introduced just a few weeks earlier. Oakner had been a licensed air conditioning contractor in Florida for over 30 years and knew firsthand how much water damage can be caused by a clogged condensate line. So, he invented the Mighty Pump, which he now sells online for about $70.


Attach hose and pull up on the handle.

As an interesting side note, Oakner mentioned that 90% of his central-air service calls were related to water leaks. Here are the three main reasons why a leak occurs: 1) there’s a crack or hole in overflow drain pan, 2) there’s a clogged condensate line and water backs up and floods the overflow pan, or 3) the air filter is clogged with dirt, which causes the evaporator coil to ice up and then drip water.

So, you can easily eliminate two of the three causes of water leaks by keeping the condensate line clear of clogs, and by regularly changing the air filter. Here’s another valid reason to keep the condensate line clear: Most modern A/C units are equipped with a water-overflow cutoff switch, which automatically shuts down the A/C unit if it detects a clogged condensate line. The switch helps prevent water damage, which is good, but most homeowners don’t know why their air conditioner suddenly stops, and they end up calling a service technician.

Mighty Pump is the first readily available tool that homeowners can use to keep condensate lines flowing freely. It looks similar to a bicycle pump, except that it has two hoses. The hose on the inlet side is used to suck clogs from the very end of the condensate line. The other hose is on the exhaust side of the pump, and is used to blow out clogs from the upper end of the line, near the air handler.

With its ability to deliver a one-two punch to clogs, Mighty Pump is a must-have tool for every central-air homeowner. And now, thanks to our smart and vocal fan base, I, too, know about this indispensable new tool.



Please Leave a Comment

10 Comments on “Innovative Pump Unclogs AC Condensation Drain Lines”

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  1. Karen Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Sounds like this is a must have for my home. Where do I buy it?

  2. Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Hi Karen, The Mighty Pump is available on-line at: http://www.acdrainpump.com. Good luck!–Joe T.

  3. dewayne Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I have been having trouble with drain problems,water getting on the floor,first time aftre 15yrs. haven’t had problems before drain pan is made out of plastic, so it should not be coroded. Would the mightypump work for me. I have never see one before, and where can I perchase one. Thanks for the help Dewayne

  4. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Dewayne,
    The Mighty Pump is sold online at their website. Click on the Mighty Pump link in the article above to get there. Good luck with your project!

  5. Ronnie Gran Says:
    April 3rd, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    your original idea, which i just saw, and the -pump have one big drawback. my drain is plumbed into the house drainage system and I cannot get to where it enters the pipe. what do i do about that

  6. Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    April 4th, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Hi Ronnie, As mentioned in paragraph three, these tips can’t solve every problem, but here’s something you can try: Cut into the condensate line on the “up stream” end where it exits the air handler. Then attach the vacuum or pump and try blowing out the line. If that doesn’t dislodge the clog, reverse the technique and suck the line clear.
    Now, if the clog is in the main house drain line, then this tip might not work. Find the clean-out plug in the main drain line and snake out the pipe.
    Finally, you can repair the condensate line you cut into by simply slipping a short length of rubber tubing over the ends and securing it with a couple of stainless steel hose clamps. Good luck.–Joe T.

  7. Brian Says:
    March 17th, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Hello, I saw this as an old post, but Iam having a drain problem with my condensate line. I have a two story that is quite tall I was wandering I removed the rubber hose from the upstairs vanity and found it plugged w/ algae. I cleaned it as best as I could. Waht about blowing forced air from my air compressor down the hole what do you think?

  8. Fanny Fadel Says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I using a condensate pump for the AC. The exhaust side of the pump is a 1/2 clear tube which is clogged. I can’t replace it because it goes thru the ceiling of my townhouse to the back where the compressor is. I tried to pull it out but couldn’t. Since the floor drain in the furnace room is clogged with cement (plumber told me that), I can’t use it for the drain water coming out of my condensate pump. So now I have that exhaust clear plastic drain going thru the garage to the driveway. Is there any way to clear the original plastic exhaust tube that goes thru the house to the back? This is a clear plastic 1/2 inch. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.

  9. James Wright Says:
    September 8th, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I have an A/C drain problem like a few others have had. let me explain the construction or how it was installed. For some reason and I don’t know why,(And I have never seen this before)is the the A/C drain line was ran from the attic to the first available vanity sink P-Trap. Why is this? Why could it have run directly to the 1 1/2″ drain/vent line in the attic or within the wall? When we first moved in the noise fron the air handler was coming from the drain in the vanity/sink, which is anoing. So after 6 months the drain is clogged up and the sink/vanity would not drain. I take out the P-trap to inspect and find what looks like is mushie insulation clooging up the drain just pass the P-trap. So I cleaned it out and put it back together and after 2 months it is the same way again. Can i re-route this drain line into the 1 1/2″ vent pipe in the attic / just before it heads down the wall?

  10. Kay Says:
    September 29th, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Hi,
    Excessive water from air-handler is leaking on the floor but the secondary overflow drain pan with cut-off switch is dry. Shouldn’t the water from the evaporator coil drain into the primary drain pan under the evaporator coil, and if that is clogged should it not drain into the secondary drain pain under the whole unit? If there is block in the drain pipe where do you think it is or is there a different reason for the above problem?
    Thanks in advance

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