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What is a condensate pump?
A condensate pump is one of the increasingly common accessories for our air conditioning units. This is responsible for lifting and/or pushing the condensation water that ‘produces’ our air conditioning equipment, either because of the impossibility of draining naturally by gravity or because the conditions of our installation or comfort we prefer to forget the typical bottle choosing to install a pump that performs this task for us.
In the current market there are many variants and types of condensate pumps, the most common and used are the small pumps or ‘mini’ pumps that are installed inside the installation duct itself; the external pumps that are located at the bottom of the indoor unit and finally the pumps with tank that are usually located outside the installation, usually next to the outdoor unit.
In this series of articles, we will analyze these three possibilities to discover the pros and cons of each one, seeing also the incompatibilities of each one if it had them when choosing the condensate pump that better adapts to our needs and installation.
‘Mini’ condensate pump
A ‘mini’ condensate pump is a pump that is usually integrated or installed in the indoor unit itself or in the installation duct. These pumps are characterised by being very small, silent and with a very high maximum lifting power for their small size. The most common pumps of these models are usually made up of 2 parts – although there are also compact models that are made up of only 1 part-.
Parts of a ‘mini’ condensate pump
- Pump: The pump will be the ‘engine’ of our condensate pump, this will be in charge of sucking and pushing the water from our unit to the drain when the buoy indicates that there is water in the circuit. This part is the largest and heaviest of the set and will receive the 110V or 220V electrical supply, having a ‘union’ or communication cable with the buoy to receive the signal that triggers its operation.
- Buoy or float: This component will be in charge of detecting when there is water in the circuit to evacuate and activate the pump to suck and eliminate this water. The buoy usually has much smaller dimensions and is usually installed behind the interior unit of our air conditioning. This will be connected to the pump with a cable to send the activation signal. Usually in these buoys there is a filter to retain dirt and impurities that are generated in the indoor unit which we can easily remove and clean.
- Assembly accessories: The assembly accessories for the mini condensate pump usually include transparent drainage pipes and a cable to connect the two components, as well as several adapters for different outlets and an accessory to install and fix the float.
Among the technical characteristics of this type of dewatering pump, the first one that stands out is its small size. This small size is essential to be able to completely hide all its components and not be visible, other common characteristics are:
- Maximum discharge height: between 6 and 10 meters.
- Maximum suction: between 2 and 3 meters.
- Loudness: between 20 and 30 dB.
- Water flow rate: between 10 and 30 litres per hour.
- Price: Between 80 and 150€, being able to reach up to 280 or 300€ in the most exclusive versions.
As we can see, the variety of technical characteristics is very wide and leaning towards one or another will depend on our needs and the characteristics of our installation, since in some cases it will be necessary to opt for more powerful pumps and in others the most basic option will be more than enough.
Advantages and disadvantages of installing a ‘mini’ condensate pump
The most outstanding advantage of this type of drainage pump is its small size, suitable for almost any installation and which will prevent us from having visible ‘bangers’ or pipes in our installation. Another of their main advantages is the high vertical drive capacity they have as well as the low noise level in operation, less than 20 dB in some cases.
In the negative points we can observe the low pumping capacity in terms of water volume, which although in most cases will be sufficient, can be quite reduced if we force the pump with a very long installation and excessive head. The price of these pumps is also usually quite high, between 80 and 150€, and can reach 300€ in the most powerful versions.
If you think that this pump is not adapted to your needs and you want to see the advantages, disadvantages and characteristics of the external pumps and the tank pumps, I invite you to see it in these articles:
External ‘core’ water pumps