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What’s A Boiler Condensate Pump, And How Does It Work?

The biggest question we get asked about boiler condensate pumps, is whether a central heating system needs one.

First, let’s understand what a condense pump on a boiler looks like and does.

What are boiler condensate units and pumps used for?

For gas installations, building regulations set out by the UK Planning Portal from 1st April 2005 require installers to install only condensing boilers. For oil, this has been the case since 2007.

Condensing boilers use water to adjust the temperature of a heating system. As water is heated, it produces steam. When the heating system is allowed time to cool down, this steam then converts back to water.

The water that is produces is not as pure as when it entered the heating system. In fact, it’s acidic. A condensate for a boiler allows an escape route for this contaminated water. It eventually leaves the property via the current underground drainage. Whereby the existing drainage is not a suitable exit route, the installer will need to fit a condensate soakaway unit (or pot).

Many systems rely on gravity to carry away the contaminated water. For those where this is not possible a condensate pump will be introduced.

A typical example of properties that use a condensate pump would be those where the boiler has been relocated to a basement. Gravity will not take this water to the ground level (where the drainage system is) and so a condensate pump must be used.

How do boiler condensate pumps work?

A standard condensate pump will have two main features. A motor and an impeller. The motor provides enough energy to force the water up a condensate pipe. The pipe will then be linked to a drainage system or soakaway pot.

In general, a condensate pump will not be operational 100% of the time. Many manufacturers build in a small water storage tank (2 litres is very common). Once the tank fills to a certain level (set by the manufacturer) the pump will kick into action.

The main reason for setting them pump up in this way is to save energy. The pump only need to be in operation for a minute or so at a time and not consistently.

What are the top brands for condensate pumps and soakaway units?

Soak-away units

If you already have a soak-away unit, it’s going to look something like this:

The top two manufacturers you are likely to come across are:

  • The code for their soak-away units is SOAK1.
  • The code for their soak-away units is WSA1.

Condensate pumps

The top manufacturers for condensate pumps are:

  • Grundfos
  • Stuart Turner
  • Saniflo

How much does it cost to fit a condensate pump?

Much like boiler installation costs, there are factors that affect the price.

Expect to pay around £150. The price will depend on

  • Brand and model of the pump
  • Total labour time
  • Whether you also need a soak-away unit installed
  • If there is existing condensate pipework installed

If you need help and advice regarding the installation of condensate pumps, please leave a comment below.

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