The HVAC Contractors Guide to Large Condensate Pumps
As buildings and applications grow in size and complexity, the need for Large Condensate Pumps comes into play. This article is designed to provide a broader explanation of the unique features and applications for Large Condensate Pumps.
Since its founding in 1948, Beckett Corporation has manufactured a broad range of Small, Medium, and Large Condensate Pumps for HVAC and refrigeration applications. Additionally, Beckett offers a broad selection of low-profile, mini split, high-temperature, plenum rated, and in-pan condensate pump models.
What is HVAC Condensate?
Condensate is created during a change in the state of water from a gas or vapor form into a liquid form. It generally occurs when vapor in warm air encounters a cool surface, like the evaporator coils, which are normally found in air conditioning systems, refrigeration equipment, and other types of cooling and heating equipment.
Why are Condensate Pumps Needed?
To prevent the unwanted collection of condensate, it should be drained away by gravity through a drain pipe or hose. If gravity drainage is not possible or practical, a condensate pump is used to automatically pump the condensate water to a drainage point or sewer drain.
- All air conditioning systems and similar equipment produce condensate during normal operation
- Condensate must be drained or pumped from systems to avoid costly damage
- Condensate pumps, drain pans, and drain lines require routine maintenance
- Condensate overflow and leaks can cause water damage, mold growth, and unpleasant odors
- Some condensate is corrosive and requires treatment or neutralization
What is a Large Condensate Pump?
Although all residential condensate pump applications differ, the most common condensate pumps typically have a maximum lift (or shut off) of 15-22 ft, use a smaller collection tank (2-3 quarts), and handle condensate up to 150°F.
For bigger projects, Large Condensate Pumps are often required and are capable of some or all of the following:
- Higher Maximum Lift (shut off): 30-65 ft. vs. 15-22 ft.
- Higher Voltage Options: 120V, 230V or 460V vs. 120V or 230V
- Larger Collection Tanks: 1 gallon vs. 2-3 quarts or less
- Higher Flow Rates: 108-476 GPH vs. 112-125 GPH
- Greater Temperature Capacity: 150-212°F vs. 150°F
- Plenum rated to UL2043 for installation in air-handling spaces
Note: Condensate pumps are not designed for use with HVAC equipment that produces condensate over 212°F.
How Does Building Size Affect the Condensate Pump Size?
For larger residential and commercial structures, the building characteristics often dictate the use of Large Condensate Pumps. These characteristics may include higher ceilings (9+ ft), larger footprints that require longer condensate drain pipe runs, and higher capacity A/C equipment (over 5 tons) that produces a greater volume of condensate. High ceilings, longer pipe runs, and larger A/C equipment usually require condensate pumps rated for higher lift capacity (Max Lift 25-65 ft ), larger condensate collection tanks (1 gallon), and higher flow rates (108-476 GPH).
A/C Equipment Tonnage
As A/C equipment increases in cooling capacity (tonnage), it will likely produce a greater volume of condensate. The higher volume of condensate will usually require a larger condensate reservoir and higher capacity pump, but that depends on the A/C equipment, the local climate, and the overall application.
Some HVAC applications also include high-temperature condensate, which requires condensate pumps made of materials designed for higher temperatures (150°-212°F). These applications typically include boilers (i.e. radiant heat), steam humidifiers (i.e. Aprilaire, Honeywell, GeneralAire), high-efficiency condensing furnaces, and high-efficiency instant water heaters.
Depending on the size and application, high-temperature condensate pumps are used in residential and commercial applications but are not designed for use with HVAC equipment that produces condensate over 212°F.
More Reading: The A-Z Guide to High-Temperature Condensate Pumps
Plenum Rated Applications
Some HVAC applications have limited space and require condensate pump installation inside air handling spaces (plenums). In these cases, local building codes typically require condensate pumps that are rated for UL2043, “Fire test for heat and visible smoke release for discrete products and their accessories installed in air-handling spaces.”
Although not all, many plenum rated condensate pumps are Large Condensate Pumps because they are used in larger residential and commercial buildings. These pumps are built with special materials that are compliant with UL standard UL2043 and have higher performance capacity for higher lift, greater condensate flow, larger reservoirs and high-temperature applications.
Installation and Application Warnings
This equipment should only be installed and serviced by technically qualified personnel who are familiar with the correct selection and use of appropriate tools, equipment, and procedures. Failure to comply with national and local electrical and plumbing code recommendations may result in electrical shock or fire hazards, unsatisfactory performance, or equipment failure. Know the product’s application, limitations, and potential hazards. Read and follow product instructions carefully to avoid injury and property damage.
Other Condensate Pump Resources:
- Condensate Pump Catalog
- Condensate Pump Selector Brochure
- Condensate Pump Spec Sheets and Manuals
- Condensate Pump Cross-Reference Guide
- Beckett Wholesale Distributor Locator
Beckett Corporation is a pump and pump accessories manufacturer using market-driven information to design innovative products for HVAC, Refrigeration, Water Gardening and OEM markets. By employing state-of-the-art equipment, technology, and lean manufacturing practices to shorten cycle times, we deliver the highest quality products. For over 75 years, Beckett pumps have stood the test of time with proven reliability, ease of installation, long-term durability, and exceptional value.