What is a condensate pump? In HVAC or refrigeration process, the water that condensate need to be channeled out from the building to proper drainage outside the building. The condensation process usually occurred when the air passes though the cold evaporator coil during the cooling process.

As a result, the moisture that accumulate on the coil then drip down into the drain pan that is placed underneath the coils.

Systems that are able to use the gravitational force to flow the water that accumulate on the drain pan does not require the use of the pump. However, there are many instances when the air conditioning systems require to use of this pump to get the water out to prevent the water from dripping into the space.

The condensate pump that is used in residential system is usually low power(approximately 60W) and simple in function. However, regular inspection of this unit is critical as you do not want to have to come back to your house with water dripping all over your carpet, furnitures or electrical goods.

It is always a good idea to find out whether your air conditioner is using the pump in its operation. Generally, the condensate pump has the following specifications and functions that you should know:

  • Float Switch is an input that is used whether to energize the pump or otherwise. When the water accumulate on the tank reaches the level set on the float switch, it will trigger a signal to operate the pump until the water or liquid is reduced substantially. Once this happens, the pump will stop operating.
  • Tanks of the pumps usually range from 0.5 to 1 gallon or 2 to 4 litres. Smaller pump may not have any tank but is placed directly on the drain pan to pump the condensate water out of the pan.

    Choosing A Condensate Pump

    Take note of the following before buying the pump for replacement.

    • Look for UL and CSA marking on the pump. These certification is important to ensure that the pump is designed and produced for safety according to the industry standards.
    • A Thermal Overload protection is an added feature that shuts down the pump motor in the event of overheating, thus protecting the pump from damage or fire hazard.
    • If a tank is required, look for one with high impact ABS tank material as well as leak-proof and rustproof design.
    • Stainless Steel Shaft helps to prolong the life of the pump.
    • A removable Check Valve option to prevent the water from flowing back into the tank in the event that the outlet line is at a higher level than the tank.
    • Power cord and plug that are long enough for your application.
    • A safety switch will be good as an output that can be connected to trigger an alarm when overflows happen. This output can also be used to shut down the air conditioning system to prevent further damage to the system.

    In temperate countries, it is critical that the condensate water that goes out through the piping is totally drain out especially during winter. This is important because the water that is not drained out will freeze and may crack the piping or cause improper functioning of the system.

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    Alora Bopray

    Staff Writer

    Alora Bopray is a digital content producer for the home warranty, HVAC, and plumbing categories at Today's Homeowner. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of St. Scholastica and her master's degree from the University of Denver. Before becoming a writer for Today's Homeowner, Alora wrote as a freelance writer for dozens of home improvement clients and informed homeowners about the solar industry as a writer for EcoWatch. When she's not writing, Alora can be found planning her next DIY home improvement project or plotting her next novel.

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    Roxanne Downer


    Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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