Air conditioners use condensate pumps.
A condensate pump is a device used to move and direct the flow of wastewater produced by boilers, furnaces and air conditioning systems. This condensed steam or water vapor exits these systems through a trap and is collected in a nearby pan or tub. As levels get high, the condensate pump redirects fluid from the pan to an outside vent or waste area. In some applications, a condensate pump can direct this fluid back into the system for reuse.
A condensate pump redirects fluid from a boiler to an outside vent or waste area.
Condensate consists of steam and steam by-products, including moisture and minerals. It is produced during the heat exchange process, which is carried out by heat pumps and air conditioners. Furnaces and boilers produce condensate as the steam used in these systems cools and returns to a liquid state. All of these systems produce some form of condensate, and all but the most basic include some form of condensate pump.
When choosing a condensate pump, buyers must first select a pump size that matches the size of the heating or cooling system. The pump must also be compatible with the location and must be able to safely expel condensate based on the slope and conditions in the area. Some types of condensate may require special pumps capable of handling the minerals and other by-products found in the condensate. This can include acidic materials, particularly when the pump is used with a manufacturing or industrial furnace or boiler.
In a typical home heating and cooling system, the condensate pump collects and expels condensate to the outside. It can exit to the municipal sewer system or deposit pit. As condensate contains some minerals and combustion by-products, it may require special handling in some applications. High condensate temperature can also affect disposal.
In factories and industrial environments, the condensate pump can be used as part of an energy recovery system. The pump directs wastewater back to the boiler for purification and reuse. Some systems can simply capture thermal energy from the condensate and then reuse that energy for heating or manufacturing processes. The water can then be expelled from the building through normal channels.
Using a condensate pump as part of an energy recovery system offers a number of advantages for building management. It reduces heating and water costs and can help improve occupant comfort when used for heating. Energy recovery also protects the environment by reducing demand for fossil fuels and lowering air and water pollution rates.