Condensate Pumps: The Definitive Guide
If this is the first time you’ve bought a condensate pump, then you will no doubt find the vast number of pumps on offer quite overwhelming.
You’re probably thinking:
“What does a condensate pump actually do? Do I really need a condensate pump? And what’s wrong with condensate anyway…?!?”
Fortunately, like most things in the pumping world, by learning a few simple elements you will be able to make a confident purchase that’s right for your heating system.
What is condensate?
If your boiler was installed from the 1st April 2005, then you will be legally required to have a condensing boiler installed in your home.
Condensing boilers use water to change the temperature in your home.
When the boiler heats water, steam is produced. When the steam cools, the steam is naturally converted back to water. This is what we call ‘condensate’.
The problem with condensate is that it is not pure. The condensation process turns the condensate acidic.
This acidic condensate can erode pipes in your heating system, and it can also have detrimental effects on your health.
What is a condensate pump?
A condensate pump is a small mechanical tool installed on a heating, cooling or refrigeration system which allows you to drain acidic wastewater (condensate) away from your home.
They usually look like this:
Do I need a condensate pump?
In the majority of houses, the condensing boiler will be situated in a position that allows the condensate to drain away using gravity.
However, this will not be true in all cases.
If the condensing boiler is situated below the drainage line, then you will need a condensate pump to help remove the wastewater from your home.
For example, if your boiler is installed in the cellar or basement, then gravity will not be able to take the wastewater to the drainage system at ground level.
You will need a condensate pump installed on your condensing boiler.
How does a condensate pump work?
A condensate pump has four core components. These are:
PH tank (soakaway unit)
Each component has its own separate function that works together to remove water from your condensing boiler.
A condensate pump works as follows:
Step 1 - Condensate Collection
The condensate in your heating system naturally runs through a hose into the PH tank (soakaway unit).
Step 2 - Float Switch is Activated
Liquid level in the tank is controlled automatically by a float switch. When the liquid reaches a certain level, the float switch is activated.
Step 3 - Liquid Drainage
When the float switch is activated, the impellers spin which then pumps the condensate through the discharge hose to the drain.
How do I choose a condensate pump?
If the condensate pump is used in a residential system, then the power needed to operate the pump will usually be less than 60KW. Look for pumps using this 50 to 90KW power source and you can’t go too far wrong.
Saying that, you should also consider the following:
Does the condensate pump have an overflow alarm?
Most high-quality condensate pumps will have a safety overflow switch. This can be connected to the condensate boiler and set to stop the boiler in case of an alarm.
Does the condensate pump have a stainless steel shaft?
If not, you can be sure that the pump is a pretty dodgy build and you will need to replace the pump sooner than you like.
Is the condensate pump plug and cord long enough?
Will the power cord and plug reach the sockets on the wall? If not, then you will need to purchase a different pump.
What are the best condensate pump brands?
The top condensate pump manufacturers are:
These manufacturers are highly regarded in the pumping industry for their high-quality design and engineering. If you’re buying a condensate pump, we suggest you stick to one of these three brands.
If you’re looking for specific condensate pump recommendations, these are the three best condensate pumps available:
Grundfos Conlift 1LS Automatic Condensate Pump
Stainless steel motor shaft, pump operation test button and a safety overflow switch, this Grundfos pump is one of the best on the market. Ideal for collecting condensate from a condensate boiler, air conditioning units, refrigeration systems, air humidifiers and evaporators.
Search prices on Grundfos Conlift 1LS Automatic Condensate Pump here.
Saniflo Sanicondens Pro Condensate Pump
If you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality condensate pump that is specially designed for condensing boilers, take a look at the Saniflo Sanicondens Pro Condensate pump. Using innovative Saniflo engineering, the pump manages to fit a 2 litre tank, a 6 m flexible discharge pipe and 60W motor into this compact condensate pump. Ideal for when a neutralising tray is not available.
Search prices on Saniflo Sanicondens Pro Condensate Pump.
Stuart Turner Wasteflo BC3 Boiler Condensate Pump
Another option is the Wasteflo pump from Stuart Turner. Designed to quietly and efficiently remove acidic residue, the pump is specifically designed to work with a condensing boiler. The pump is supplied with a high capacity 2 litre tank and is suitable for use with any condensing boiler system.
Search prices on Stuart Turner Wasteflo BC3 Boiler Condensate Pump.
How do I install a condensate pump?
While it’s not a difficult task to install a condensate pump, there are several components to the job that we believe should be conducted by a professional.
Saying that, it is far easier than most people imagine and all condensate pumps purchased at Anchor Pumps will come with installation instructions.
Take a look at the installation instructions for the three pumps mentioned above.
As you can see, if you are competent in DIY, then it really shouldn’t be that difficult to install a condensate pump.
How much does it cost to install a condensate pump?
So, if you really don’t fancy fitting the condensate pump yourself, how much will it cost you to have a professional install the pump?
Well, each home and job will vary, but after speaking to a variety of plumbers, we’ve agreed that if you have pre-purchased the condensate pump, then it would come in at around £150 - £200.
This is based on about 3 - 4 hours of work at a cost of about £50 per hour.
Number of Hours Work - 3 - 4 hours
Hourly Rate - £40 - £60
Estimated Cost of Installation - £150 - 200
Please note: Plumbing prices will differ based on your location and the required work to complete the job in your specific situation. The above is to be used as guidance only.