How does Condensate Pumps Work?

So it looks like you are curious about how does condensate pump work, right? Well if so then you are on the right page to explain you how these devices works.

You should have already an idea of what a condensate pump is, especially if you read the information available in this section, so I’m not going to repeat that to avoid to bore you too much (after all is just a pump right? 🙂 ). Anyway check the relevant voice in the menu above if you want to find out more about this.

But let’s continue talking about how a condensate pump works. If you read our previous page about this argument you probably know already that a condensate pump has three main components:

  • A floating switch
  • A tank reservoir
  • And the pump to remove the water, accumulated in the tank reservoir

The working principle behind these kind of pumps is quite simple: the water originating from the other systems connected to the pump (like your AC system as an example) will fill the tank reservoir up to a limit. When the limit is reached the floating switch will activate the pump which will remove (suck out) the water from the reservoir until the water level is insufficient to keep the floating switch at the level required to activate the pump. The pump extracts the water via a common plastic tube connected to a sink or a drain in your house or in your garden.

That pretty simple to understand right? As we said is just a pump after all. Here is a simple scheme for a condensate pump attached to a boiler; it should give you some additional clue about the condensate pump operational behaviour:

How does condensate pumps work?

Boiler with attached condensate pump – simple scheme

Nonetheless there are some more complicated systems out there, like for example condensate pumps equipped with two pumps and a two-stages switch. The working system is similar as in the case of less complicated devices of this type with the first pump activated when the water reach the first stage of the switch. However if the water keep raising instead being extracted (this can happen if the first pump is not working properly or the drainage system – that tube connecting the tube to your drain – is blocked) then the second pump is activated by the switch when the water reaches the second stage.

In some cases this second stage may also switch off the system producing the condensation water (the AC equipment) in order to prevent the production of further condensate, trigger an alarm, or both. You should know also that systems having two pumps are also configured to share the work run-time between the two pumps; in this way a backup pump is always available  in case one pump fails to function as designed.

The more complicated type of condensate pump (like those equipped with two pumps) are hard to find on the online market. However there is a number of accessories that can be bought together with a “normal” condensate pump that can be used to add the “switch off” or alarm functionality. You will find more details about this product in the “condensate pumps for sale” section of this web site if you are interested.

Check also our page about why you should use a condensate pump in your house.