Condensate pumps collect water (condensation) produced as a byproduct of air conditioning units and high-efficiency furnaces. When the condensate pump tank fills with a certain amount of water, the motor kicks on and ejects the water through a flexible plastic tube. That tube might lead to a drain in your basement or may exit through the wall, dumping the water outside. If the condensate pump stops working, water could overflow the tank and/or signal to the furnace to shut down completely.
Installing a Little Giant condensate pump (or any other brand) that plugs in is a simple DIY project that most hands-on homeowners can tackle themselves. However, if you purchase a pump that must be hardwired into the furnace, it's best to call an electrician or HVAC technician. This includes plug-in pumps that feature a safety switch wire. Such a wire communicates with the furnace during the event of a pump failure, automatically shutting down the furnace so condensation does not build up inside the unit.
Removing the Old Condensate Pump
First, turn off the HVAC system via the switch on the furnace to prevent water from discharging during the installation process. Next, unplug the old pump from the wall. If you can't pick up the pump, loosen or remove the screws on which it hangs. Then, pull the plastic tube off the nipple. Water may drain out of the tube, so it's smart to have a towel or bucket nearby to collect the discharge.
Next, remove the inlet pipe by sliding the pump to the side and maneuvering the pipe until it pops out of the pump. This pipe simply rests inside the pump, so there shouldn't be any hardware to remove. Finally, evaluate the integrity of the clear plastic tube and cut it down if you detect any major kinks or tears. If it looks to be in OK shape (it's normal for it to look dirty), you can reuse the old tube.
Installing a Little Giant Condensate Pump
To install a new Little Giant condensate pump, start by sliding the inlet pipe into the hole on the pump. You can accomplish this by holding the pipe and/or the pump at a slight angle to get it into the hole, and then you can slide the pump toward the pipe until the pipe is once again vertical.
If the pump is able to sit on a flat, level surface, you don't necessarily need to hang it up on the screws. Otherwise, hang the pump's mounting bracket on the screws and tighten them in place. You may need to adjust the position of the screws if your new condensate pump has a different bracket from the old one or if they aren't level. The pump cannot sit at an angle or else the water will overflow before it has a chance to trigger the pump motor.
Installing a New Plastic Tube
Slide the plastic tube over the pump nipple. If using a new tube, first place one end where you want the water to exit, such as outside your home, and have a helper hold it in place.
Then, work your way back toward the pump, securing the tube to brackets and/or other pipes with zip ties. Take care not to fasten the zip ties too tight or to create any sharp angles along the way. When the tube reaches the pump, cut off the excess. Push the end over the nipple and secure it with a hose clamp if desired.
Finally, look for a little piece of cardboard sticking out of your new condensate pump. This protects the switch during shipping and must be removed before operation. All that's left to do is plug in the pump and turn on the furnace.