“What is a condensate pump?” This is a question we hear often from customers in our line of work (appliance parts), so you’re certainly not alone!
Condensate pumps are used in a number systems, namely in retail refrigerators and HVACs (heating and cooling). They use a small amount of power (60-120W) and operate fairly simply, but their function is essential.
What is a Condensate Pump?
To understand what a condensate pump is, it helps to understand how it operates within an HVAC system. An A/C’s inside unit contains an evaporator coil that cools the warm air blown over it. Because of this, condensation forms on the coil and drips down to a drain pan. This condensation from the drain pan gets channeled out of the house through a drain line or its condensate pump (depending on the design of the HVAC system).
If your furnace and inside A/C unit was installed in the basement, it’s using a condensate pump to push the water outside. Therefore, if your AC is leaking water inside your home, it’s likely due to a broken condensate pump.
How Does a Condensate Pump Work?
A condensate pump generally has three main components:
- Tank reservoir: Usually can contain up to a 1/2 gallon- 1 gallon of water. Smaller pumps may not have a tank, but rather the pump is placed directly on the drain pan.
- Floating switch: When the water accumulates to a certain level, the float switch signals the pump to get to work.
- Pump: The pump keeps working until the liquid level has been sufficiently reduced, sending the water out of the house via a plastic tube.
For a good overview of the functions of a condensate pump, check out this video from Know How Now:
There are also more complex condensate pumps, that contain two pumps and a two-stages switch. The purpose of this dual-pump system is to have a backup pump available in the case that the other fails. However, these are significantly more rare than condensate pumps that contain only one pump.
If you’ve decided you need to replace your condensate pump, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Look for UL and CSA certifications. This assures that the pump has been designed and produced in proper accordance with safety standards.
- If a pump with a tank is required, looks for one with a leak-proof and rust-proof design.
- You may want to consider a pump with a safety switch feature. This can shut down your HVAC system in the case of any future overflows (preventing damage).
Do you live in the Tampa Bay, FL area and are in need of assistance with your condensate pump? Contact us here at the Appliance & A/C Parts Today and we’ll be happy to help!