Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by HVAC
Getting the Best Condensate Pump for Your Home
A condensate pump can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs for your heating and cooling system. This little machine is made to take accumulated and excess water away from your furnace, air conditioning or other HVAC systems for optimum performance.
When you’re looking to buy the very best condensate pump, really there are only 2 or 3 brands to even consider. These are anything by Little Giant, Diversitech, and the newest manufacturer, Fujiwara. Due to the consistency of the first two brands in particular, I think it a big gamble buying a pump from any other manufacturer.
These pumps typically cost between $40 to $60, depending if you need tubing with your pump. So to save a few bucks buying a no-name brand that may work for a few months or a year just doesn’t make sense. Buy a quality product and it should last you around 20 years.
Our Top Picks
Best Automatic Condensate Pump with a Safety Switch (with tubing): Little Giant 554415 VCMA-15ULST
With a built in safety switch, 20 feet of tubing and a half gallon reservoir, this is our number one pick from a Very trusted manufacturer.
Best Automatic Condensate Pump with a Safety Switch (with OUT tubing): Little Giant 554425 VCMA-20ULS
With all of the above Little Giant 554415 VCMA-15ULST features, just minus the tubing if you don’t really need it. An easy choice.
Best Automatic Condensate Pump NO Safety Switch (with OUT tubing): Diversitech CP-16
The (IMHO) second best manufacturer of condensate pumps. This is the best basic pump without the extras like tubing and a safety switch.
Best Looking Condensate Pump (for public places): Fujiwara (FUJ—40L)
This is the pump to get if people will be able to see the pump. Hangs on walls easily and looks stylish. This is also the best air conditioner condensate pump.
How Does a Condensate Pump Work?
Your condensate pump works by creating suction and pulling the water out of your HVAC units condensation reservoir. The pump is usually installed on the floor next to your heating and cooling unit. As water condenses inside the unit it will run down the unit into a basin to be collected and eventually pumped out by your condensate pump.
The pump can be used in both commercial and residential applications to remove collected water as needed.
- Getting the Best Condensate Pump for Your Home
- Our Top Picks
- How Does a Condensate Pump Work?
- Choosing the Right Pump
- When to Use a Pump
- Buying the Best Condensate Pump
- Little Giant Condensate Pump Reviews
- How to Install a Condensate Pump
A residential condensate pump is often much smaller and less powerful than those used in commercial refrigerators and freezers but are still absolutely necessary for a properly operating heating and cooling system.
There is a small reservoir in your furnace and air conditioner that collects water as it condenses. This reservoir can easily become too full causing the float to shut the cooling or heating unit off.
If you have a slow heating or cooling unit then you may simply need to replace the condensate pumps.
The condensate pump will work on its own by turning on and off as needed. The machine can tell when the water has begun to drain into the pump using a float similar to the one in your toilet. The motor of the pump will then begin working to push the excess water out of the pipes.
The pump does need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to work in most home uses. The pump also needs to be connected to the heating and cooling unit at the right location under the drain to work properly.
Choosing the Right Pump
The right condensate pump is based on the heating and cooling units you have in your home although most can be used interchangeably. Your air conditioner and furnace need to have a pump attached to draw the accumulated moisture out of the unit. If you have a combination heating and cooling, or HVAC, unit then you only need one pump for both features.
The one Fujiwara (FUJ—40L) pump listed in our top picks is one pump specifically made for an air conditioning unit and to be hung on a wall. Most other pumps are made to simply sit next to your HVAC system. Gas furnaces and air conditioners typically need to have their own pump to work properly.
There are really only 2 things to look out for when choosing the best pump for your particular situation, do you need a safety switch? And do you need tubing?
A safety switch simply shuts off the pumps power when the pump is not pumping correctly. This is typically due to a clogged hose or possibly a more serious malfunction. This is a smart safety measure to have as it is possible if you don’t, that the pump will consistently run until it either eventually burns itself out, or worse, starts a fire. So for the couple of extra dollars, I strongly suggest choosing a condensate pump with a safety switch.
The next thing is do you need tubing to discharge the water the pump is pumping out?
Tubing is cheap. It’s usually just a thin plastic flexible tube, kind of like the tubing on a fish tank oxygen pump. You can use the same thing actually. The one thing you do want however is the tubing to be clear. This way you see if there are any clogs or something blocking the tube without needing to disconnect it. Usually you blow through it to check for blockages if you need to do this.
The length of tubing you’ll need depends on where you’ll be getting rid of the water. Usually a drain in the floor of a basement, or running it into a drainage pipe is all you need. What you don’t want to do is start using 50 feet or more of tubing. If you do, it will almost definitely start clogging, a lot. And once it starts, it is difficult to control as it is usually live algae growing inside the tube.
When to Use a Pump
A condensate pump can be used in many situations. For instance, if you have sweaty pipes in your building or home then you probably need to have a pump installed.
The pump will pull all the moisture out of the system and help it work more efficiently as well as working as a mold remover.
You will typically find the pump that is attached to heating and cooling units in the basement of large offices and buildings.
The pump will help pull all this excess moisture away for a cooler environment.
Air conditioning units are among the most common uses for a pump since the cool air naturally produces a lot of condensation in the summer.
The pump will need to have an adequate drain before it can work properly, however.
There are many solutions to draining your condensate pump but the best way is through the drains that are installed in your heating or cooling unit.
If you don’t have a way to drain the water away you may find that you have many of the same problems that you had before installing the pump.
Buying the Best Condensate Pump
Buying a condensate pump is as simple as choosing the model that you need for your air conditioner, gas furnace, or HVAC unit.
There are many selections on the market to choose from. You can easily find the pump that fits your system and that is within your budget.
You will also want to opt for a high quality pump that meets the standards for safety to ensure your new pump doesn’t end up becoming a wasted investment.
With the right pump you will find that your heating and cooling units run much more efficiently and you have less condensation overall. You may want to install your condensate pump yourself if you are comfortable with the task.
Little Giant Condensate Pump Reviews
This particular unit has a safety switch so that you won’t ever end up burning up your pump, av1/2-gallon ABS plastic tank or reservoir for the water (condensation) to collect in which is plenty for pretty much any place you decide to use it, a 6 ft. power cord (this plugins into a 120V electric socket, and 20 ft. of clear plastic tubing which is used to pump the water out of the reservoir. So be sure 20 feet is enough to get to wherever you plan to drain the water (like a water drain or pipe).
This model also has a 1/50 HP pump which means it is capable of pumping water up to 50 feet. Although you should try to always halve that number.
This also has a safety switch that can be used to turn off your appliance when the reservoir isn’t draining correctly. This is a great addition and why I choose this model always when looking for the best HVAC condensate pump and can save you money and stress in the end. And it’s also why it is our number one pick in our Top Picks section!
This “little” pump isn’t really small, but it is a giant as far as a workhorse. This particular model is as basic as you can get. It doesn’t come with any tubing, and there is no safety switches or other bells and whistles. This is also our number two pick and really the only pump brand you should need for most of your HVAC installations.
The 554421 particular unit has a 1/30 HP motor and a 1/2 gallon ABS tank which makes it more than adequate for most standard installations. If you need something bigger or smaller, they have a lot of different models to choose from.
And save yourself some time and just grab the Little Giant CV-10 Check Valve as you should always be using one as a security measure should something go wrong with your pump. They’re super cheap and installing one is simple enough.
The LG can pump out water through 100 feet of hose if necessary. But you should always try to keep your discharges to 50 feet or less.
All About Little Giant Condensate Pumps
A Little Giant condensate pump works to remove moisture that often builds up with the use of climate control systems. For instance, air conditioners use a condensate pump to remove additional moisture from the air. Small window air conditioning units have an interior condensate pump that regulates the excess moisture to prevent the accumulated moisture from damaging the unit. Larger air conditioning units may need an exterior condensate pump, however.
The Little Giant condensate pump collection is sold in several sizes. A smaller unit can be used for a split air conditioning system, while larger units can be used for larger systems. Furnaces also need a condensate pump. Little Giant provides solutions for any system that is getting bogged down by condensation from the smallest system to the largest. The company can help you solve the problem of a lagging air conditioning unit and help you get your furnace running smoothly.
Choosing Your Little Giant Pump
When choosing your Little Giant condensate pump you choose based on your system. For instance, you won’t want to use a condensate pump that has been designed for an air conditioner on a heating system and you shouldn’t use a condensate pump for a gas furnace with an air conditioner. Choosing the right pump for your heating or cooling system will ensure your system runs as it should. Each of the Little Giant pumps is made for an easy install and is constructed with high grade materials.
Each Little Giant condensate pump is also CSA and UL listed for safety so you can be sure you are getting a product that works well but that also meets all current standards for safe use. The stainless steel construction of the gas furnace pumps provides a long life for your heat pump while the snap action switch makes the product simple to use. With thermal overload sensors you don’t have to worry about your Little Giant pumps becoming overheated in a gas furnace.
Where to Buy a Little Giant Pump?
Your Little Giant condensate pump can be purchased right online for instant savings and door to door delivery. Choosing your heat pump online will also allow you to research your options. Finding the right condensate for your personal use can help you keep your home or office as warm or cool as it should be.
How to Install a Condensate Pump
It is easy to install your own condensate pump if you are a home owner and have been having problems with your gas furnace or general heating and cooling system.
You may notice an excess of moisture if you check the area where the heating and cooling unit is located or you may need to have your current pump tested to see whether it is working or not.
In general, you can install the pump yourself with just a few tools and a couple of hour’s time or even less.
To begin the installation you need to have chosen the condensate pump that you want to use. The pump should be designed for your type of furnace, whether you have a gas furnace or another type of system.
Water condensation is common on all heating and cooling units. A condensation pump will work to remove any excess water that may damage your heating and cooling unit. The pump is simple to install with just a few tips and tools.
To begin installation you need to have a few items on hand including your condensation pump. A piece of pipe long enough to reach the drain for your heating and cooling system, enough fitting to connect the pipe to the drain and the pump, a saw and a drill are all commonly used when installing a pump. You will want to measure the pipe carefully before cutting it or your drainage system won’t work properly.
You may also want to take the time to fit all of the pieces of the pipe together before gluing the PVC to ensure it will work properly. PVC pipe is inexpensive and works well for installing a condensation pump but if you accidentally glue the pieces together incorrectly you may have to saw a coupling off and have to run and buy another one. Save yourself some time and simply work the pieces together before gluing.
Your condensation pump installation will be fairly straightforward. You may need to have an extension cord on hand if there isn’t an electrical outlet near your heating and cooling unit but this is a simple fix. You will also need to install a trap between the heating and cooling unit and the pump to ensure no debris enters the pump. This will ensure your pump has a long life. After connecting the pipe to the furnace drain you will then connect it to the pump.
After measuring your pipe you should then cut it to the size that you need. It is always better to cut the pipe longer if you aren’t sure the measurements are right. You will typically install the condensation pump lower than the drain to promote drainage since the pump depends on gravity to work correctly. The pump itself can be installed on the floor if it needs to be. The pump will work to push the excess moisture out when it is turned on. After connecting the pipes properly you can plug your pump into the nearest outlet.
A high quality condensation pump won’t need a lot of maintenance. You may want to clean the exterior of the pump periodically if dust is an issue in your area but the pump will work for many years to come if it is draining correctly. The installation of the pump is critical since the water has to drain for the pump to work correctly. You may find that a professional installation is helpful if you aren’t sure how the pump connects to the furnace.
If you have a good installation the maintenance of your condensation pump is very limited. You may want to check the drain lines annually to ensure the water is moving out of the system but this only takes a few moments.
If you aren’t sure which type of system that you have installed talk to a professional about which type of pump is right for your home.
Hopefully this guide has helped you choose the best condensate pump for your needs. If you have questions on the models or wiring, just ask in the comments below. We’ll do all we can to help!