A condensate pump, also known as a condensate removal pump, is a type of pump used to remove the condensate produced in a refrigeration unit, heating, and cooling system, or boiler furnace.
The best condensate pump will have the correct head size, use a standard voltage, and have enough power to move the condensate through the line (Source).
The name, condensate pump, comes from the fact that these devices are typically used to remove water produced by the condensation of steam. Condensate pumps are a type of centrifugal pump. These devices increase the pressure and momentum in a fluid, which pushes it in the desired direction, away from the equipment that generated it (Source).
Condensate pumps are used to drain the water that is produced by the operation of many different household appliances. Without draining, the accumulated water would eventually build up, halting the operation of the equipment, and potentially cause irreversible damage that can be expensive to repair.
Choosing the correct condensate pump can be a difficult task, as there are many options. Before purchasing a condensate pump, consider the price, reliability, and the size of the head. You should also consider its operating voltage, pumping power, and warranty.
In this review, we will take a look at the top-rated condensate pumps. All of the pumps in this review will keep appliances properly drained, whether you’re a professional plumber looking to stock up on a commonly used component, or you’re just performing a one-time DIY home repair.
How Does a Condensate Pump Work?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Does a Condensate Pump Work?
- 2 Comparing The Best Condensate Pumps
- 3 1. Little Giant 554425 VCMA – 20ULS Condensate Pump – Best Safe Condensate Pump
- 4 2. Little Giant 554401 VCMA – 15UL Automatic Condensate Removal Pump – Best Professional Grade Condensate Pump
- 5 3. Little Giant VCMX – 20ULST 554550 VCMX Condensate Pump – Best Condensate Pump for Household Appliances
- 6 4. Little Giant 554421 VCMA – 20 UL Condensate Pump – Best Versatile Condensate Pump
- 7 5. Beckett CB151UL Condensate Pump – Best Quality Functional Condensate Pump
- 8 How Do You Remove a Condensate Pump?
- 9 How Do You Clean a Condensate Pump?
- 10 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Condensate Pump
- 11 When to Replace a Condensate Pump
- 12 FAQs About Condensate Pumps
- 13 Ready To Buy The Best Condensate Pumps?
HVAC systems and condenser furnaces are common household appliances that produce water as a by-product. Furnaces condense the vapors present in the air to extract more heat. Similarly, air conditioning units cool your interiors and remove the excess moisture.
The extra water obtained from these appliances is usually removed with the help of a drain powered by the gravitational force. However, at times, a drain is not practically efficient at water drainage. In such situations, a condensate pump is used as a practical measure.
When the extra water flows in the basin of a condensate pump, it starts filling up in it. After reaching a certain level, the water triggers the float switch in the pump. That turns the motor on, which pumps the water out of the basic and through the discharge pipe away from the area safely.
Once the water level goes down, the float switch triggers the motor to shut off again.
Comparing The Best Condensate Pumps
|Little Giant 554425 VCMA – 20ULS Condensate Pump|
|Little Giant 554401 VCMA – 15UL Automatic Condensate Removal Pump|
Stainless steel shaft
|Little Giant VCMX – 20ULST 554550 VCMX Condensate Pump|
Has a safety switch
|Little Giant 554421 VCMA – 20 UL Condensate Pump|
|Beckett CB151UL Condensate Pump|
1. Little Giant 554425 VCMA – 20ULS Condensate Pump – Best Safe Condensate Pump
Notably, it has a ¼-turn check that allows servicing of the machine without necessarily removing the tubing. This makes it good for efficient water spill elimination. The pump also comes with a mounting bracket for easier installation and a safety switch that can be wired to an air conditioner system or other appliances.
As you may guess, the safety switch is useful if the machine fails and the water level has reached an overflow point. The switch prevents the compressor from running and overflowing by switching it off.
Additionally, it features 20 feet of tubing and a 6-foot long power cord. The pump comes with rubber feet that are built to absorb vibrations when installed on hard-working surfaces. Likewise, its overly slimmer footprint size provides a lot of flexibility, too, if there is a need to install in tight spaces.
More Reasons to Like this Product
The Little Giant 554425 VCMA – 20ULS Condensate Pump is very resistant. Actually, it is heavier compared to similar products on the market, probably due to the stronger materials employed in its making.
Moreover, setting up it up is quite simple and straightforward. Clear instructions are provided within its package.
Laslty, this pump is quiet, automatic, and does a flawless job emptying your condensation system easily.
2. Little Giant 554401 VCMA – 15UL Automatic Condensate Removal Pump – Best Professional Grade Condensate Pump
It is a professional-grade pump suitable for high-efficiency oil and gas-fired furnaces as well as condensing boiler equipment. This machine provides a 1/50hp with a strong flow of 65 gallons hourly.
As such, its collection tank and motor are made with durable ABS plastic that prevents damage over time. Additionally, it employs an automatic start and stop function with a check-valve.
Just like our first product, the Little Giant 554401 VCMA – 15UL Automatic Condensate Removal Pump is easy to install and runs quietly. It also won’t be an eyesore in your space due to its slim nature. Overall, this device is easy to remove, clean, and replace.
3. Little Giant VCMX – 20ULST 554550 VCMX Condensate Pump – Best Condensate Pump for Household Appliances
Additionally, it comes with a strong flow of 84 gallons per hour and a one-foot lift. It can be easily mounted on the wall or the floor where the pump’s rubber feet lessens vibrational noise.
Having installed your pump, you won’t need to worry about your appliance running optimally. You can’t notice this condensate pump running, thanks to its quiet operation.
The pump is also reasonably priced despite its higher lift capacity and has better transfer rates compared to other condensate machines.
4. Little Giant 554421 VCMA – 20 UL Condensate Pump – Best Versatile Condensate Pump
The pump’s versatile nature is provided by the 115v and 1/30hp operation with a half-gallon tank made from durable and rustproof ABS plastic. Additionally, it comes with a 6-foot power cord that offers protection from thermal overload.
Likewise, installing this product is a breeze, too. You can choose if you want to install the machine on a flat surface or mount it on the wall. Meanwhile, when it comes to replacing the pump, you can easily do it by yourself.
However, it feels overly lightweight and misleadingly flimsy compared to other pump. But worry not: this device is an excellent option if you need an affordable, long-term, and reliable condensate pump.
5. Beckett CB151UL Condensate Pump – Best Quality Functional Condensate Pump
The pump comes with a 115v motor and boasts a 120-gallon flow rate per hour. With this, even the largest particles will pass through the tubing without any trouble. Moreover, installing this is quite simple.
Additionally, its plastic tank protects the pump from damage, especially when in heavy use, too. And despite being slightly pricier, this is a dependable product with great durability.
How Do You Remove a Condensate Pump?
Sometimes, a condensate pump starts leaking, which is why you need to remove it for fixing it. Some condensate pump models come with a safety trigger that will switch on when there is a sign of pump failure or if the water level is too high.
Condenser furnaces and air conditioners can practically produce almost five to ten gallons of water daily. Therefore, you might need to monitor the pump and see if it is working fine.
If you have to remove the pump, then you are going to need a screwdriver or a nut driver (depending upon the pump model), a wrench, and an empty bucket.
First, make sure to clean any water puddles around the condensate pump. Then pour some water in the reservoir to see if the pump starts working or not.
If it doesn’t work, then unplug the pump and remove the discharge tube from the end attached to the basin. Make sure to keep a bucket ready there to empty the water from the pipe.
After that, use the wrench to unscrew the valve. Use the screwdriver to remove the screws used for mounting the pump to the wall and floor.
Slide the pump carefully to swivel the inlet pipe and remove its end that is inside the pump’s basin.
How Do You Clean a Condensate Pump?
You can clean a condensate pump with the help of the following steps:
Ensure that the area around the pump is dried and cleaned correctly. You need to do it to check for leakages in the pump basin.
You cannot clean a condensate pump while it is on. Make sure to unplug it after switching the unit off from the breaker box. Remove the pump from the inlet tube attached to it. You might need to unscrew the nuts and bolts used for mounting the pump in its place.
After that, take the whole condensate pump out of the area safely and place it on a suitable workbench. Ensure that your HVAC system is off while you are cleaning the condensate pump.
Rinse the basin or reservoir of the pump correctly. You might find dirt, algae, and other forms of debris stuck inside its surface.
Rinse the drain tubes and inlet valve properly. These sections can also have debris stuck in them. Furthermore, you might need to use a bottlebrush, etc., to remove the clogged portions of the condensate pump.
While doing all this, make sure not to spill water over the motor as it can damage it. Once done, reconnect the unit back and restore the power to make the pump work again.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Condensate Pump
Finding the right condensate pump for your appliances can be tricky, especially if you are new to this industry.
There are lots of pumps and installation options available on the market with varying features, brands and price ranges. Before looking at the various factors to consider, it is imperative to highlight how condensate pumps basically work.
Sometime you might run out of electricity during the time of operating a water pump. In case of emergency, you will need a reliable generator as an alternative power source.
How a Condensate Pump Works
Household appliances, including air conditioners, accumulate water as they operate. This water needs to be drained to maintain the conditioner’s proper functioning. This is the condensate pump’s work.
Condensate pumps reduce the level of accumulated water when it reaches a certain level. The pump only gets activated when the water gets to the float switch. The condensate pump’s motor turns on, and water is suctioned into the impeller, which drains the accumulated water by rotating.
With most HVAC systems, they are designed so that the condensate pump filters water to an outside drain. However, not all are made this way. Steam systems, for instance, have their condensate pumps made in a way that water is directed into another area to be cleaned and recycled back to the steam area.
This is an input that is used to energize the pump. When the water in the tank accumulates and reaches the level set on the float switch, it triggers a signal to start and operate the pump until the level of water is reduced substantially.
Once the level is reached, the pump automatically stops operating.
Most pumps come with tanks ranging from two to five liters.
However, small pumps may not have tanks. As such, they are placed directly on the drain pan to pump the condensate water.
If you are looking for a pump for use in a heavy-duty setting, consider a pump with a large tank. Similarly, a small-sized tank can be perfect for household use.
Other Crucial factors You Should Consider Include:
- Pump head measurement – determines the maximum height at which the condensate pump can deliver a liquid to the pump’s outlet.
- GPH/GPM – the gallons of water that the pump can remove in one minute or hour. You may want a system that removes two to three times more than the system’s condensing rate.
- Voltage – 115v to 120v for household appliances, 230v for industrial appliances, and 460v for commercial-grade systems.
- Horsepower – usually 1/30hp to 1/hp.
- Extra features – automatic shut-off and thermal overload protection or a removable check valve option that prevents the backflow of water into the tank in case the outlet line level is higher than the tank.
- Long power cord and plug – should be long enough for a convenient application.
- Stainless steel shaft – prolongs the condensate pump’s life.
When to Replace a Condensate Pump
Many people easily forget their condensate pumps are appliances. And like many appliances, these pumps have to be replaced. However, this doesn’t mean that you will have to replace the pump too often. If you are keen, you will easily identify when the pump isn’t working, and when to replace it.
With continuous use, the pump’s motor may start failing or the automatic float switch may fail to turn on and off due to the accumulation of debris and dirt. The most obvious sign that your condensate pump requires urgent replacement is leaking.
When it comes to replacing your condensate pump, doing it by yourself is possible. Installing a condensate pump is quite a simple process. You can follow the instructions in the manual to replace your condensate pump without asking for help from a technician.
FAQs About Condensate Pumps
Q: Do I need a condensate pump?
If you have a lot of appliances that use up water or tangle with humidity, you need a condensate pump. For example, boilers and air conditioners usually can’t get rid of condensed water away from the area you’ve placed them in, so that’s where the pumps come in.
Q: What is the purpose of a condensate pump?
As mentioned before, condensate pumps get rid of condensed water made by certain appliances. They divert water from a spot and move them to a remote place like a drain.
Q: How do I tell if my condensate pump is working?
If it’s able to efficiently do its job without making unnatural sounds, then it should be normally working.
Q: How do I know what’s wrong with my condensate pump?
- If it’s not working or turning on, check if the power source is plugged in.
- If it is on but doesn’t have water gushing from the storage, check either the microswitch or the motor itself.
- If the pump suddenly shuts off and upon inspection, you notice the float became stuck due to debris build-up, tap on it lightly until it moves.
- If the float is damaged, you’ll have to replace it.
- If the machine stops producing water, check for clogs.
- If the water is not properly flowing, clean the condensate pump valve.
Q: How do you clean a condensate pump?
First, switch off both the pump and the appliance it is connected to Then, simply use warm water and dish soap to clean it.
Ready To Buy The Best Condensate Pumps?
The first step to finding the best condensate pump is determining if you will subject the machine to the household or industrial use.
Then, figure out the lift requirements of the pump; identify the discharge point and where the pump will be mounted. As a rule of thumb, the output flow of the HVAC condensation pump should be double the input rate from the appliance.
Lastly, be sure to know about the condensate pump’s installation and ascertain its voltage requirements. If you are using water pumps it will run out of pressure and stop working if turned off for an extended period of time, such as over the winter.
In case, if you are using AC condensate pumps after a long time, you have to make ready for operation again. In such a case, it needs to be primed. Check out the step by step guide on how to prime a water pump. Also, check out our latest review on refrigerant recovery machines.