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Does a Furnace Need a Condensate Pump? (Answered)

We include many appliances and devices to our house to make our livelihood easier and better suit our comforts. The environment outside is not often comforting to us, but we can alter the environment indoors according to our desires with the aid of air conditioners and furnaces.

However, to ensure the proper service of these appliances – we need to maintain them properly. This abstract below details the requirements and importance of some parts of a furnace.

Does a furnace need a condensate pump? 

A furnace needs a condensate pump to effectively take away and remove excess water from them. These pumps replace the conventionally used hoses and transfer water to drainage pipes. Condensate pumps are more preferred since they do not rupture like hoses and ensure efficient water drainage.

Condensate is the water that is produced as a result of continuous heating, cooling as well as refrigeration and condensation of the steam in systems such as furnaces or air conditioning. 

This condensate needs to be extracted out of the system and disposed appropriately in order to ensure the proper functioning of the furnace or air conditioner. 

Many systems rely on the gravitational force to make the water flow and accumulate into the drainage. 

However, in complex systems the gravitational force may not be enough to force the water out of the system into the drainage – as a result, the condensate ends up dripping on the floor or accumulating in the attic.

To combat such problems, a specific type of pump called the condensate pump is used to take away the condensate from the system to the drainage.

Many modern day furnaces require condensate pumps to operate properly and some of them have those pumps built into them. 

The condensate pumps are an efficient and effective way of removing condensate from the furnace since unlike hoses, they do not have the risk of breakage or rupture. They can also transfer water at a much faster rate and ensure good water drainage.

Gas furnace: 

Using condensate pumps on gas furnaces is not a necessity but a nice addition since many gas furnaces rely on gravitational force to let the condensate out into the drain. 

The condensate produced by gas furnaces is not overwhelmingly to rely on condensate pumps, however if you install it on the furnace – you will ensure a higher longevity and efficiency of your gas pump.

High-efficiency furnace:

In case of high-efficiency furnaces, the problem occurs when the system cannot manage the excess condensate generated due to rapid heating and cooling mechanisms. 

Thus the water accumulates very fast and fills the pan in such a short amount of time that the water cannot be removed fast enough to make room for the new condensate. In such cases, not having a condensate pump gives rise to many issues for both your furnace and pump.

Can I run furnace without condensate pump?

A condensate pump is a crucial part of a furnace and without it, your furnace and house would turn into a wet mess with the excess water from the condensation collecting in your floor or attic. 

A furnace ensures that the condensate is drawn from the system and goes right to the drainage. But if the condensate pump is faulty or removed – then all the excess water from the condensation will overflow and spill onto your floor or attic. 

This would not only make a mess out of your home but will also be harmful for your furnace since there will be a pressure buildup from the incoming condensate.

Another problem that will arise from condensate accumulation is algae buildup which would possibly clog all the drain lines and valves.

Why does my furnace have a condensate pump?

A condensate pump is a vital component of your furnace that ensures its proper functionality. In order to better understand the use of a condensate pump on your furnace,  follow the detailed description given below:

Complex water drainage line:

Many furnaces handle the water of their condensate by transferring them through a hose with the help of gravitational force. 

Although this method can get rid of excess water but in complex or high efficiency furnaces – such drainage systems do not work well and a condensate pump is required to remove the water from the system. 

Efficient disposal of water:

Often in furnaces where the condensate generates rapidly due to continuous heating and cooling – the condensate may accumulate and fill up so rapidly that the hose cannot remove the water in time. 

In such cases, the condensate pump efficiently pumps out and removes water to make room for the incoming condensate.

Reduce risk of breakage or leakage:

In traditional condensate drainage lines using hoses, there is a high chance of breakage or leakage of the hose when used over a long period of time. A breakage and leakage could not only make a mess of your home but could also damage your furnace. 

The condensate pump does not have that similar risk of breakage or leakage that hoses face, therefore making them a more durable component.

What does a condensate pump do on a furnace?

A condensate pump performs several tasks that enables your furnace to function well and enables the furnace to work as intended. Few of the notable functionalities are listed below:

Removes condensate from the furnace:

The main functionality of a condensate pump is to remove the condensate from the furnace, Condensate is the water that is produced as a result of rapid heating and cooling of the water vapor in the system. 

This condensate needs to be removed from the system to ensure a proper functionality of the furnace – which the condensate pump achieves by pumping out the excess water out of the system and releasing it into the drainage lines.

Prevents leakage of exhaust into your home:

The condensate pump provides a concealed passage to allow all the exhaust and condensate to transfer out into the drainage line. The absence of the condensate pump would result in these exhaust condensates overflowing and be leaked into your home. 

This would not only result in a water hazard but sometimes toxic gasses might be accompanied by the condensate which would put health risk upon you.

Puts less stress on the furnace:

The condensate pump efficiently removes water from the furnace in a short time that prevents any clogs or chance of algae growth. A clear drainage line means there is no condensate buildup and thus no stress on the furnace.

How to install a condensate pump on a furnace?

Installing a condensate is a crucial process, therefore make sure you install it properly. To do so, follow the steps below:

Installing the PVC pipe:

First, you need to locate the drainage where the condensate will be sent. After that, you need to install a PVC pipe to the drainage and draw it until you have reached the furnace. 

Once the path has been established, anchor the pipe to the wall with appropriate PVC joints and plugs. Make sure the pipeline is sealed and leak proof.

Mount the pump and connect it to drain lines:

The next step would be to install the condensate pump – mount to an appropriate location, possibly near the PVC pipe. Next connect the drain connection on the furnace to the inlet port of the condensate pump using the PVC pipe. 

Make sure that the condensate pump is placed lower than the drain connection – then install a trap with a vent in this line to ensure proper water drains. 

Join the PVC to the condensate pump:

Once the connection has been set in place, you need to take the PVC pipe that has been connected to the drainage and join it to the outlet port of the condensate pump and ensure a sealed connection.

Power up the condensate pump and test:

After all the connections have been established, make sure all the joints are tightly secured in place and then power up the condensate pump by plugging it into a nearby electrical outlet. 

Make sure that the electrical outlet is not in a damp environment to prevent short circuit or electrical hazard. Lastly, check the connection by turning on the furnace and observe the condensate pump.

Final Thoughts

A condensate pump is required to effectively remove surplus water from a furnace. These pumps transfer water to drainage pipes in place of the traditional hoses. Condensate pumps are favored over hoses because they do not break and provide efficient water drainage.