You may find yourself at crossroads when buying a condensate pump for the first time owing to the high number of pumps on offer. You may also have difficulty understanding a condensate pump and whether you need it. This piece will serve as a guide to all you need to know about condensate pumps.
What Is a Condensate?
To start, you need to understand what condensate is. If you have a boiler dating from April 2005 onwards, you must install a condensing boiler by law. These boilers utilize water to control the temperature in your home.
It produces steam by heating water, and the steam cools off, turning back to the water, thus the name condensate. The challenge with this process is that condensate is not pure but acidic. The solution poses health risks and will corrode pipes in the heating system. That’s where a condensate pump comes in.
What Is a Condensate Pump?
This small mechanical tool is installed on refrigeration, air dehumidifiers, evaporators, radiators, heat exchangers, and any cooling or heating systems. You can also install it in your portable air conditioner since the AC creates condensate like the above equipment.
The HVAC or refrigeration process necessitates water to be drained from the system. Some systems use gravitational pull to eliminate the water accumulating on the drain pan. However, most instances require a condensate pump to remove the acidic water.
A condensate system for residential purposes is 120 volts and operates in a simple manner. It will be helpful to check whether your air conditioner has a condensate pump. Also, regularly inspect the unit to avoid water all over your floor.
Do You Need a Condensate Pump?
In most houses, condensate boilers are located where condensate drains quickly with gravity. However, this does not apply to every home. If your condensing boiler is situated below the drainage line, you need a condensate pump to remove the water from your home. For instance, if the boiler is in the basement or cellar, gravity will not help take the wastewater to the level ground’s drainage system. Consequently, you will need a condensate pump on your condensing boiler.
What Does a Condensate Pump Do?
This bit will cover how a condensate pump functions in an air conditioner. The condensate pump collects and disperses the liquid produced by HVAC systems in places such as basements. In the process of air conditioning, warm moist air is pulled through the cooling coils of a system. This results in the condensation of moisture into a drain pan.
In heating in a condensing gas furnace, the system retains gasses to pull heat from them and does not immediately dispel combustion gasses through the vents. This process allows gasses to cool and condense into the water before they are dispersed.
How Does a Condensate Pump Do It?
The operation of a condensate pump is very straightforward. As warm air, which needs conditioning, goes through the cooling oils, the cooling results in condensation on the surface of the coils. The condensate goes into a tray in the air handler or the unit’s blower before flowing down a drain into a flexible pipe in the water reservoir containing a float switch.
As condensation forms and water levels reach the top of the reservoir, the float switch is lifted, activating the pump’s electric motor. The unit starts pumping the collected water into the tube, usually flexible plastic tubing. The line leads outside a building through the wall to a utility sink or floor drain.
There are pumps with two-stage switches which offer extra backup to avert condensation accumulated due to block discharge or pump failure from pouring onto your floor. If it goes beyond the first stage without pump activation, a second switch is activated, which shuts off the pump or triggers an alarm.
How to Choose a Condensate Pump
There are factors you should consider before selecting a condensate pump. First, you should ensure the pump uses the power of less than 60kw if it is for a residential system. Below are some of the other factors you should consider:
- An overflow alarm. Ensure the condensate pump has an overflow alarm. Most high-tier pumps have a safety overflow switch connected to the boiler and stop the boiler when there is an alarm.
- A stainless steel shaft. Check whether the pump has a stainless steel shaft. If the shaft is missing, rest assured the system is dodgy and will not give you the best service. You might end up replacing the pump in a short time.
- Check the cord and plug. You should ensure the plug and cord of the pump is long enough to reach the sockets. If that is not the case, you might have to get another pump.
How to Install a Condensate Pump
Installing a condensate pump is not necessarily a tough job. Most pumps come with installation instructions and don’t pose a challenge to most people. Ensure you go through the steps carefully. If you are good at DIY, you will, without a doubt, have an easy time installing the pump. It is also important to note that the job’s components may necessitate calling a professional.
A condensate pump is crucial if your boiler is not close to a drain. It prevents the overflow of your drain in case of the backwater. You can get a simple condensation pump at very affordable prices. The price might shoot up if you want to include a neutralization device.