When you enter the world of homeownership, you're bound to expand you vocabulary -- and your "to do" list. Such is the case with a condensate pump, which channels water produced in your air conditioner to a drain or sewer. It also protects your air conditioner, switching it off if too much water accumulates. This nifty pump operates largely unnoticed, and that's exactly the way you want it. Clean it once a year to keep it and your air conditioner running smoothly.
Grab the owner's manual so you can easily locate the condensate pump. On some units, the owner's manual is attached to the air conditioner.
Turn off your air conditioner. Unplug the condensate pump, which is often the shape of a shoe box.
Remove the screws or nuts on the cover of the pump and lift it up. Pour any water in the pump into a bucket so that you can dispose of it. In your owner's manual, the pump may be referred to as a reservoir.
Fill a sink or utility tub with hot water. Clean the pump or reservoir with a sponge. Remove any hard water stains with the sponge or a soft brush. Wipe the pump dry, then reattach it.
Consult your owner's manual for the recommended way to keep the drain pan clean and clear. Some manufacturers recommend the use of condensate tablets; others may authorize the use of vinegar. Bleach used to be a common remedy, but many plumbing professionals believe bleach can damage plastic PVC pipes.