Monthly Archives: December 2010

High Efficiency Furnace – Repairing the Pump

A small condensate pump


It’s obviously more sustainable to repair something, such as a piece of equipment – so long as it can perform efficiently -, rather than throw it away and replace it. So when a condensate pump at a duplex we own broke, this time I took the time to look for the problem and repair it, rather than heading off to Home Depot or wherever and buying a new one. These pumps are needed for high efficiency gas furnaces and boilers. The high efficiency means that a lot of the heat is captured from the burning gas before the exhaust fumes go out of the flue. That means that the exhaust is as cool as it can be, having given up a lot of heat. And that means that moisture condenses out of the exhaust as it cools. that moisture runs out of the equipment as water, which has to be piped to a drain. So these little pumps are often at the side on or near the floor. The pump collects the water as it drips out, then when the little reservoir fills up, the pump turns on and swoosh! the water is pumped up a little clear plastic drain tube.
So on this occasion, I found that the plastic float was partly full of water. With water in it, it’s not going to float, so it’s not going to turn on the pump motor as the water rises. The water keeps on dripping, keeps on rising, and spills out over the basement floor. I could have been wasting my time – conventional wisdom would just buy a new pump for $50-$60. In fact I was fairly easily able to open the float, empty it, seal it up again and put the works back together. Having dealt with a few of these babies I am now familiar with how they work. The total time it took was probably no more than it would have taken me to drive to the store and back.
In this case, re-use and not throwing away was a winner. For now at least.

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