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Anyone involved in the everyday use of common appliances like refrigerators, furnaces, and air conditioners has unidentified experience with condensate pumps. The need to drain water produced by the operation of various appliances necessitates the use of a condensate pump. Without one, the vapor accumulated by these appliances would cause dysfunction.
Choosing a condensate pump is a more intricate process than you might expect. In this article, we will explain their inner workings, how to handle them properly, and teach you what features to pinpoint in your search for the best condensate pump
What is a Condensate Pump?
Let’s go back to basics. Before you can begin your search for the best condensate pump, you need to have a firm understanding of what it is you’re searching for.
A condensate pump is required as part of any heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) system. Condensate pumps are centrifugal pumps, meaning that they transfer energy to fluids resulting in strong pressure and momentum which pushes the fluid in the designated direction.
Condensate pumps take their name from the fluid which they push – the water from condensed steam produced by the specific appliance.
How Do Condensate Pumps Work?
HVAC appliances accumulate water as they operate and this water needs to be drained in order to maintain proper functioning. This is the condensate pump’s job.
Condensate pumps function so that when accumulated water reaches a certain level, the pump is activated. The pump’s motor turns on, and water is suctioned into the impeller, which drains the water by rotating. Picture a miniature propeller.
While many HVAC systems are designed so that the condensate pump filters water to an outside drain, not all are made this way. In steam systems, the condensate pump sends the water to another area to be cleaned and is then recycled back to the steam area.
When Should I Replace a Condensate Pump?
It’s easy to forget about the condensate pumps in your appliances, but like many appliance parts, condensate pumps sometimes need to be replaced.
It’s not likely that you’ll need to replace your pump too often. However, you’ll know when your condensate pump is not working. Over time, your condensate pump’s motor may start to fail, or the switch which turns the pump on and off may become worn due to accumulating dirt and debris.
The most obvious sign that you need a replacement is when your condensate pump is leaking. You’ll notice small puddles of water on the floor or surface areas near the specific appliance.
Can I Replace a Condensate Pump By Myself?
Considering doing it yourself? Go for it! The truth is that if you can follow directions, you’ll be able to replace your condensate pump without help from a technician.
Here’s what I mean: the condensate pump installation process is not particularly difficult. You do need to know how to unfasten and refasten screws and pay attention to the positioning of electrical wiring. If you feel capable of these things, then there’s no reason you can’t change a condensate pump yourself.
No pressure though. You can always hire a handyman to help you out!
What Features Should I Search For in a Condensate Pump?
The best condensate pumps have various features which enhance their functionality. Here is a short list of features to look for in a condensate pump:
- Pump Head Measurement: This tells you the maximum height to which the condensate pump can deliver a liquid to the pump outlet.
- GPM/GPH: GPM or GPH refers to the gallons of condensate water which the pump can remove in one minute or hour. You want a pump that can remove 2-3 times the system’s input condensing rate.
- Voltage: Most standard household appliances require 115 or 120v. Some larger appliances require 230v, and commercial grade appliances may require as high as 460v.
- Horsepower: Typical household appliances generally range from 1/30hp to 1/50hp.
Before you invest in a new condensate pump, be sure to examine your appliance for specifications about these features to ensure proper and optimal functioning.
Our Picks for the Top 5 Condensate Pumps – Reviewed
Now that you’re armed with more knowledge about what condensate pumps are, how they work, and how to identify important features, it’s time to look at some products. We’ve made a list of the best 5 condensate pumps:
1. Little Giant 554425 VCMA-20ULS Condensate Removal 1/30 HP Pump with Safety Switch
Little Giant’s 554425 VCMA-20ULS Condensate Removal Pump is a great option for use in household appliances, such as heaters or air conditioners. It provides 1/30hp and a flow of 80 gallons per hour. With a long power cord and wall mounting tabs, positioning this pump is flexible.
You can install this pump by yourself in around twenty minutes. This condensate pump is more reasonably priced than many you will find in hardware stores and often just as durable. It can last for years when used correctly and has a safety switch for accident prevention. Keep in mind that plastic drainage tubing must be purchased separately.
Though it does not run silently, this condensate pump will function smoothly in many of your household appliances. Once installed, it will work optimally for some time without any substantial need for maintenance.
2. Little Giant 554401 VCMA-15UL 1/50 horsepower 115 volts VCMA Series Automatic Condensate Removal Pump
This condensate pump provides 1/50hp and a strong flow of 65 gallons per hour. The half-gallon collection tank and motor are covered in durable ABS plastic to prevent damage over time. This pump employs automatic start-stop functioning, including a check-valve.
Another Little Giant pump that is easy to install, it runs quietly and will not be an eyesore in your space. If you’re the kind of person who upkeeps your condensate pumps, you’ll appreciate the ability to remove, clean, and replace this pump easily. Be careful with the check valve, as it can crack occasionally.
If you want a condensate pump with a hookup for extra safety shut-off, you will need to find a different pump. This condensate pump can serve your appliances well for a long period of time, especially if you clean it regularly.
3. Little Giant VCMX-20ULST 554550 VCMX Series Automatic Condensate Removal Pump With Safety Switch (115 volts), 1/30 horsepower
This pump is another reliable Little Giant product. It gives 115v and 1/30hp, making it a top pick for household appliances. It has a strong flow of 84 gallons per hour at a one-foot lift. You can mount it on the wall or place it on the floor where its rubber feet will lessen vibrational noise.
One potential issue with this pump is that the reservoir is not clear for quick checking, so you’ll simply have to trust that it’s working correctly.
With higher lift capacity and better transfer rates than some other condensate pumps, we believe this pump is very reasonably priced. As long as you don’t use it for appliances that pump very large amounts of water, this condensate pump should last for some time.
4. Little Giant 554421 VCMA-20UL 115-volt Condensate Pump, 1-Pack
This pump is versatile enough to be used in many household appliances such as furnaces and dehumidifiers due to its 115v and 1/30hp operation. The half-gallon tank is made from durable ABS plastic and is rustproof. The condensate pump’s 6-foot power cord is protected against thermal overload. The choice is yours whether to situate the condensate pump on a flat surface or to wall-mount it.
When the time comes to replace the pump after years, you should be able to do it yourself in a matter of minutes. Though it feels a bit lightweight and flimsy compared to some other pumps, it may surprise you with its quiet durability.
We believe this condensate pump is an excellent option if you’re looking for affordable function and long-term reliability.
5. Beckett CB151UL 115 Volt Condensate Pump
Beckett is a brand that is trusted in the food industry. This pump has a 115-volt motor that boasts a flow rate of 120 gallons per hour. Even slightly larger particles will pass through without trouble.
Simple to install, the pump will function well and for quite some time once it begins working. The plastic tank that protects the pump is a bit brittle and is susceptible to damage if hit or dropped so you will need to be mindful of where you situate it.
Though slightly pricier than some of its Little Giant counterparts, the Beckett condensate pump is a product which should prove dependable over time, when you install it correctly.
Condensate pumps are simple machines that you will be able to handle by yourself with just a little focus. Spend some time finding the best quality condensate pump for your specific needs, and ease and convenience will follow!