Innovative Pump Unclogs AC Condensation Drain Lines

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 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 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.


  1. 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

    • 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. The landlord does not want to come check our AC unit so I am trying to fix it myself. The thermostat works fine but the AC doesn’t turn on at all. I put it to on instead of auto and it doesn’t turn on. I turned off and on the breakers. I live in a townhome and the water has Bern dripping water everyday. It over fills the pan like 1 time a week. I have to clean out the pan every week because it is full of water. Can it be clogged? Can the clogging cause my AC not to turn on anymore? What can I do to fix this problem myself and without calling a tech? Need help it gets really hot a night for my kiddos.

  9. @christina, yes, you have a clogged condensate drain line, and if you have an overflow sensor it will automatically shut off your system to prevent flooding. To fix the problem you need to unclog the drain line, this can be done using a shop vac to suck the line located outside the house. Once the line is unclogged, add a cup of bleach to the drain pan twice a year to prevent algae buildup.

  10. I’ve been reading forums regarding the issue of clogged condensation drains! I have tried a number of ways to unclog from inside my house where I can clearly see there are clogs and water overflow from the pipe causing our AC to shut off! I am having difficulty locating the outside drain. I would like to “burn the candle from both ends” so to speak and flush out any mold gunk etc. As pouring vinager/baking soda etc at the inside pipe does not seem to be working! I’m assuming there is gunk built up all the way through the condensation pipe. I know where my outdoor unit is… do I find the condensation drain outside my house to clear out any and all clogs? Any tips would be appreciated! I rent and my landlord hasn’t called me back. it would be nice to be able to fix this AC issue.

    Thanks ☺️

  11. I had two major incidents from my a/c drain baking up and leaking back into my property. After the 2 time, my a/c tech installed a Safe-T-Flush on my ac unit.
    I believe they are out of Florida by a company called Drain Shield. My tech changes the co2 cartridge every time with routine maintenance.

  12. $70.00 ? That’s how much it would cost to get an AC repairman to come look at it and diagnose a problem i’ve already diagnosed. Since i have a home warranty service already in place and they will pay for the cost to fix and replace everything. so why would you be charging 70 bucks for a piece of equipment that doesn’t look like it costs a whole lot to make ? It looks like a bicycle pump with 2 attached hoses…..the cost for this should be at max 30 bucks.

    • Hi, RC. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this product. You know the saying, “Different strokes for different folks.”
      We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for this product, but we completely understand that not every product is for everyone.
      Thanks for visiting!

  13. Hello. I live in NJ in a single family home. I have two zones. I found some water in my basement. Called a plumber who told me my condensation line goes straight into the ground for both of my units ( one in attic and one in the basement) he said I need a pump installed and he ran a pipe outside the house. Is this the only solution? He has done his job and I’m left with a plastic pipe hanging out from my sliding outside to the yard. I don’t think he did it right. Need help! Do I need to call the ac guys to check this out? Any help and or advise will be appreciated.

    • Hi, Susan,
      Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell what’s going on based on the description alone; there are many variables involved, so a personal inspection is necessary.
      Yes, we recommend having an HVAC pro look at it.
      Good luck!

  14. Hi all;
    This works for me and cost nothing. I keep those pressurized cans in my office to blow of my PC.. They have that thin straw-like nozzle.
    So, I put the straw in the condensate line and plug the hole with my finger. You can also use a cork rubber stopper etc with a hole in it.
    A 5 second blast usually does the trick.

    The longer the line the longer the blow. To get out a partially blocked condensate line, I first pour some water and then use the pressure can. The water acts like a battering ram to unclog the line.

    One warning: Using pressure in a glued condensate line can blow a joint. When my house was built they didn’t glue in the PVC fittings and when the A/C man pressurized the attic line, an elbow popped off. The elbow was buried under insulation so he did not see that
    it had come apart. Next morning water was running from the attic to the second floor to the first. Dirty stains on walls and wallpaper and
    buckling sheet rock.

    I think sucking is safer than blowing.

  15. I use a $10 suction pump (amazon) through my outside flexible tubing ac drain line …I insert a 10 ft 1/2″ tubing into the AC drain line and pump out the gunk every few days. ( this may not work if you have a rigid drain line with 90 degree elbows) Then, I pour vinegar in the inside line every few days. Keeps the system going. I live in FL…not sure why they do not install condensation pumps here routinely like they do in Indiana….even with home warranty, it still cost $100 each time they came…the temp would start to rise and the ac would stop eventually.


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