How Does a Condensate Pump Work?: The Ultimate Guide

If you haven’t wondered how does a condensate pump work, you probably haven’t considered how essential they are to your home’s basic operations.

The average home spends approximately 31 percent of all energy used on home appliances. This is because the average home has four or more large appliances and countless small ones. The most common large home appliances include an oven, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and microwave.

Some of these appliances create a considerable amount of condensation when they run. Typically, condensation is created in anything using water to cool or heat an appliance. Prime examples include your refrigerator, which keeps things cool, and your dishwasher, which makes considerable steam.

These moisture-creating appliances use a condensate pump to ensure water is removed. If the water created from those appliances weren’t removed, you’d face a heap of issues.

But how does a condensate work? Why are they necessary? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.

What Is a Condensate Pump?

A condensate pump is one designed for use with appliances whose normal functions produce condensation or moisture. Examples include a furnace condensate pump or an air conditioner condensate pump. You’ll also find these pumps in heating systems, steam systems, refrigerators, and more.

Why Are These Pumps Necessary?

Condensate pumps are necessary when an appliance has a normal process that creates moisture. Condensation accumulates when water vapor is produced through steam, warm air, or exhaust that helps keep an appliance at a cool temperature.

Over time, a lot of moisture is created. If it had nowhere to go, this moisture would overflow and potentially cause an electrical hazard. A condensate pump helps give condensation a place to go, so your appliances remain safe to run in your home. But how do they do this?

How Does a Condensate Pump Work?

Water accumulates on an appliance’s coil during its normal process and drips down into the drain pan. In a few systems, gravitational force is used to keep water flowing out of the drain pan. In these appliances, a condensate pump isn’t necessary.

In most appliances, however, gravity isn’t enough to keep things flowing. This is where a condensate pump comes in.

The condensate pump found in most homes is around 120 volts of power, although this can vary slightly. The pump uses something called a float switch to energize the pump so it can begin working.

When the water in an appliance’s drain pan reaches a specific, preset level, the float switch turns the condensate pump on. The pump continues to run until its tank is emptied.

These tanks, found inside the pumps, are tiny. They typically range from half a gallon to a gallon. Once the tank is empty, the condensate pump turns off.

Common Issues With Condensate Pumps

Sometimes, condensate pumps stop working, or they begin to perform poorly. There are many different reasons for this, some of which are simple fixes you can do yourself.

If a pump isn’t working at all, the first thing to check is that it’s still receiving power. The power may have been accidentally shut off, or the circuit breaker may have been tripped. The wires providing your pump power could have become unplugged.

If the pump is working but water is overflowing, the most common problem is that the main float’s microswitch has failed. There may also be algae or debris built up inside your drain pan or pipes that isn’t allowing water to leave quickly enough.

What to Do If Yours Isn’t Working

If your condensate pump isn’t working, the first thing to do is check that power is getting to the pump. If you find no issues with the power, the best thing to do is call a professional to assess the situation.

A professional appliance repairman or plumber can help find the problem. Once they do, they’ll let you know whether to repair or replace the condensate pump.

Tips for Choosing a Condensate Pump

If you need to replace your condensate pump, it’s essential to know how to choose the best one for your required purpose. The most important thing is to check your local condensate handling and disposal guidelines to ensure you select a model that meets regulations. These regulations vary from one location to the next.

You’ll also want to figure out the minimum and maximum lift requirements for the pump, as well as one that meets your voltage requirements. Another critical factor is determining the condensate output of the appliance you’ll use the pump on. All of these things should be found inside your appliance manual.

If you don’t have a manual for your appliance, you can usually find a copy online. If no document exists online, most manufacturers will send a new manual if you contact them.

If you have any doubts when choosing a new condensate pump for your home appliance, the best thing you can do is reach out to an expert. They can help you figure out the best pump for your unique needs. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to electrical safety.

Do You Have More Questions About How Condensate Pumps Work?

A condensate pump is essential in appliances that create moisture during their everyday processes. These pumps help prevent overflowing water or electrical hazards by assisting water in flowing out of your appliance’s drain pans.

Do you have more questions about how does a condensate pump work?

Feel free to check out our other blog posts. You’ll find many posts on condensate pumps and related topics to help you dive further into the subject.

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