Central air won't stay on during the hot day. Condensate Pump Related?

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Old 06-18-15, 09:45 AM
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Central air won't stay on during the hot day. Condensate Pump Related?

A/C has been on the fritz for a couple of weeks, but this week is getting intolerable.

HISTORY:
New A/C within the past two years, but have only been living in the house since April when we purchased it.

A/C completely shuts down, can't even turn on just the fan. This happens for about 30 minutes at a time, but has slowly increased to the point where I don't believe it turns on the entire day while I'm at work. Thermostat is set at 80 and when I come home it's been up to 85.

At night though, it seems to run just fine as I get cold and when I wake up the the temperature is at what the thermostat is set to, 75 at night.

MAINTENANCE SO FAR:
I have replaced the thermostat batteries, replaced the air filter, and cleaned the coils. None of this really seemed to have an immediate impact. But it was so hot last night I was determined to get something running.

I noticed the condensate pump so I messed with it a bit. Took it out of it's drain tray and triggered the float sensor. When I did this the condensate pump turned on...as well as the entire A/C system. I wiped away the slimy gook on the condensate pump and so far everything seems to be working. I even got the fan to stay on without the cooling so I'm hoping at least I'll have air circulation in the house while I'm at work.

QUESTION:
What else could be wrong? Low on refrigerant? I'm also unsure how the condensate pump is related to how the A/C works if it is only there to remove condensation to the outside or another drain somewhere. I didn't follow the drain lines.

Thanks so much for any information! I live in Florida and it is getting hot! My poor doggie stays inside all day. I do give her extra water and wet her bandanna to help keep cool.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 10:37 AM
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I have not seen a condensate pump interlocked to the HVAC but is suppose it's possible. That would prevent it from leaking water onto the floor if the pump failed or the drain line became clogged. You say the AC ran when you took the top off the tank and moved the float. Was the tank full of water? If so maybe the discharge line is clogged so even though the pump runs the water can't leave.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 12:01 PM
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Thanks for the reply!

No, the tank wasn't full of water. It had water in it, and I could see the water line where the level typically sits (?). But after I moved the float and triggered the pump everything kicked on. Which doesn't make much sense to me. I ended up adding more water so the sensor would go off on its own. Which it did, but all it did was run until it cleared enough water that the float wasn't activated.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 12:02 PM
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Yes, the pump will shut the A/C down to prevent overflow.
I would NOT run the indoor blower when the outdoor condenser is not running.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 12:41 PM
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But there wasn't even enough water in there to overflow. The water level in the tank was low. If there was enough water to turn on the pump, it would have turned on and pumped the water out to the drain, correct? Not sure how this will turn off the A/C??? But if that is true, do you think cleaning the slime away from the condensate pump may have fixed my issue?
 
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Old 06-18-15, 01:33 PM
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Not sure how this will turn off the A/C??? But if that is true, do you think cleaning the slime away from the condensate pump may have fixed my issue?
Hopefully, yes...
Though; not sure how it caused the problem.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 06:54 PM
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There is a float switch inside the condensate pump housing. If the pump fails the water level rises and your A/C system is shutdown. If the float is bound up on slime it can get stuck on or off. The condensate pump housing must be cleaned or replaced.
 
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Old 06-19-15, 03:28 AM
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From what I remember , the float has a 2 part switch . The first part switches the 120 VAC to the little pump motor . The 2nd part of the switch is activated at a slightly position of the float . That part of the switch may or may not be wired to the A/C controls . if it is , it should kill the circuit going to the outdoor condenser .

This is , as has been said , to prevent the formation of more condensate , overflowing the pump .

If this 2nd part of the float switch shuts down the indoor fan , also , I am a bit puzzled ? Is this also a condensing gas furnace with the condensate from the furnace also feed to the little pump ? That might explain the whole system shutting down ? The 2nd part of the switch may be wired in series with the red wire , before it goes to the tstat ?

God bless
wyr
 
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Old 06-19-15, 04:27 PM
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If this 2nd part of the float switch shuts down the indoor fan , also , I am a bit puzzled ? Is this also a condensing gas furnace with the condensate from the furnace also feed to the little pump ? That might explain the whole system shutting down ? The 2nd part of the switch may be wired in series with the red wire , before it goes to the tstat ?
Good explanation... I have a condensate pump on my condensing furnace; never had it shut things down, yet.
 
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Old 06-22-15, 05:38 AM
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No, no gas furnace. It could have been a combination of cleaning the coils, air filter, and condensate pump because it has been working fine for the past 5 days. I'm wondering if it was also just a coincidence that the a/c turned on the same time I activated the float switch? Not real sure what the exact root cause was, but it is working again!

Thanks for all the replies!
 
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Old 07-04-15, 06:40 PM
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Newer condensate pumps have a 24V switch in them that shuts the R line to the unit. I had an older version that did not have this switch and flooded my utility room!

I cleaned it out and it worked for about 3 days then the float stopped working again. I eventually replaced the pump, they are about $70 from a hardware store and take maybe 15 minutes to install.

Cheers
 
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