Condensate Pumps and How to Choose Them

A by-product of a cooling system is the water that condenses from the air conditioner. Condensation occurs when the air passes through the cold evaporating coil as the cooling process sets in. Because of this, moisture on the coils drips down towards a drain pan. The water naturally flows downwards.

It is then directed to a drain. However, there are some installations where the unit is lower than the floor or is located lower than the available drain pipes. The pooled water requires a pump to drain the water to avoid any backflows.

A large capacity air conditioner needs a condensate pump to keep water from pooling, which can lead to rust and other possible equipment damage. The condensate pump is composed of the following parts:


Condensation forms outside the cooling coils, and drips to the drain pan which overflows to the pump tank. The tank can have a capacity between of about half a gallon to a gallon, or approximately 2–4 liters. Small pumps do not have tanks but are placed directly on the drain pan to pump out condensate water.

Float Switch

The switch automatically turns the pump on and off. When the tank water reaches a certain level on the float switch, it will turn on the pump. It shuts down when the water is drained to a specific level. It is vital to place the drain pump level to ensure proper operation.

Basic Considerations for the AC Condensate Pump

1. Know your air-conditioning model.

There is a wide selection of pump models, and each works for various air conditioning types like a split AC, floor mounted, ducted, cassettes, or window type.

2. Find out the cooling capacity.

The cooling capacity of your air-conditioning unit is often displayed in kWh, and this can be seen in the specs of your AC. It is required to help estimate the condensate discharge rate. Those with larger cooling capacities have more condensate discharge than the standard types.

3. Choose the best condensate pump brand.

This will help and make a big difference in quality and maintenance. Competing brands pumps may provide your basic requirements. However, they may lack the energy savings feature, durability, and overall high performance that you will need in the long run.

Installation choices for your pump

Condensate pumps may be placed and installed in various ways. Know the various options of installing the pump in an indoor setting. For example, the pump can be placed right next to the AC, underneath the AC, or within the unit or just above the unit. Check with your contractor to know your options.

Cleaning and pump maintenance

Expert holding tools for pump maintenance

Just like regular HVAC systems, your condensate pump will require maintenance. It is important to find the best ways to clean and maintain the pumps, pipes, and automatic switch. Not all pumps are easy to clean, detach, and replace. It is better to call expert pump cleaners to make cleaning easy for you.

HVAC systems have pumps and tanks to ensure the proper draining of condensation. Proper installation and maintenance of the condensate pump help keep the HVAC or the air conditioner free from rust.

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