condensate pump running continuously

Why Condensate Pump Keep Running Continuously

Condensate pumps are electrical devices used to pump the condensate produced in a heating or cooling unit into a drain. Although they are relatively simple devices, condensation pumps sometimes present functional issues. One of the most common manifestations of such issue is when a condensate pump is running continuously.

If your condensate pump is running too often, it might be due to an issue with one of the components. This guide will let you know why your condensate pump keeps running and the steps you can take to correct the situation.

What is a condensate pump, and how does it work?

Condensate pumps are a type of pump that is used in HVAC systems to collect condensed liquid produced by thermal systems such as refrigerators, A/C, and boilers. It is typically employed at a basement where ordinary gravity will not be able to transfer the water. If you have an air conditioner with an interior unit or a high-efficiency furnace, you need a condensate pump to eliminate the water and other condensates that build up as the system operates.Common reasons why condensate pump keep running continuously

The working process of a condensate pump is simple. Taking an air conditioning system as an example, as warm air that needs conditioning passes over a cooling coil, the hot air forms condensates on the surface of the coil which then drips into a tray that collects the liquid into the condensate pump’s reservoir.

The reservoir contains a float switch which rises with the level of water collected. When the level of water reaches the top, the float switch then triggers the pump’s electric motor. When this happens, the process of pumping the water begins and the water in the reservoir is pumped into a drainpipe, which is channeled to the exterior of the building.

Why does my condensate pump keep running?

There are numerous reasons why your condensate pump keeps running. A condensate pump that won’t stop running could prove to be a serious issue. However, the problem can easily be fixed with some simple steps. Here are the top reasons why your condensate pump keeps running and how to fix them.

1. The float switch is stuck

Common reasons why condensate pump keep running continuously – Float switchEvery condensate pump comes with a float component. The float serves as a trigger to help drain water when it reaches a certain level. The float can sometimes become hung up and won’t get back down. In such a case, it would cause the condensate pump to run continuously.

A simple fix of an immovable float is to tap on it until it can move again. Also, inspect it for cracks or damages. If the float is damaged, get it replaced.

2. Discharge Line

Another area of your condensate pump that can cause constant running is the discharge line. The discharge line is flexible vinyl tubing that allows the pump to send water when the condensate pump becomes full. To inspect this, take out the discharge line out and remove clogs and debris that may be blocking the drain tube. Check that the discharge line is well placed

3. Clogged check valve

Common reasons why condensate pump keep running continuously – check valveAn issue with the check valve can cause the condensate pump to keep running. The check valve can become clogged up with dirt and grime; this causes the check valve to fail to lead to the inability of the pump to stop when it should. The check valve allows water to flow in one direction towards the exterior. A weakened, defective or clogged valve can allow water to go back into the tank and consequently cause the condensate pump to keep running

To check this problem, simply unplug the condensate pump and remove the check valve using a small wrench. Remove any dirt and clean with a soft cloth before putting it back or replace it completely with a new check valve


Why is my condensate pump so loud?

Condensate pumps make noise due to high fluid velocity and hydraulics. A condensate pump may make a bit of sound when running but shouldn’t cause a distraction. The job of a condensate pump is to remove water or condensate that develops in a cooling system. Condensate pumps can sometimes become too loud as a sign of malfunctioning or clogged drain tubes. When a condensate pump discharge is blocked, the pump increases the pressure to force out water; this increased operating pressure is what creates a noisy sound.

What happens when the condensate pump fails to shut off?

If a condensate pump doesn’t stop running, it can lead to water leaks or overflow. The overall performance of the cooling unit will be interrupted and can cause adverse problems in the long run. If your condensate pump fails to shut off, it may be a defect or a clog. You should get it checked, cleaned, or replaced.

How often should a condensate pump run?

A condensate pump can run for a long period, depending on the environment and unit it is connected to. If it is connected to an air-conditioning system, then it can run several times a day, depending on the level of humidity. A continuously running condensate pump that fails to stop when it should cause the motor to burn out or even result in serious water damage to your home alongside a high energy bill.

How to tell if your condensate pump is running correctly?

The best way to know if your condensate pump is working well is to inspect the general functioning. Listen for sounds and check if the drain hole is expelling water smoothly. If you hear a strange noise or if your condensate pump is overflowing due to any reason then the pump might be faulty and needs checking.


A condensate pump may appear small when compared to other parts of your thermal appliance, but it isn’t as diminutive as it looks in function. It performs an important job of removing condensed liquid from a system.  Usually, a hung float, an obstructed discharge line, and a clogged valve are the most common reasons for the condensate pumps running continuously. A faulty condensate pump can simply be checked and repaired or replaced

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