Little Giant condensate pump

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Old 06-23-19, 07:41 AM
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Little Giant condensate pump

We have a Little Giant condensate pump, model VCMA-15ULS, on our Unico air conditioning system. The entire system is about 17 years old. This past fall, I was working out of town, and my wife happened to be off work that day, so she called to tell me that she had heard something running in the attic, not that it was noisy, but enough to hear the small hum in the otherwise empty house, went up to check and found the condensate pump running. We had turned the air conditioning system off a month or so prior, and thinking back I recalled hearing something running a couple of times but not when I had time to investigate, so I told her to unplug it and I would check it out "later". Well guys and gals, we all know how those things go, and the temperature is starting back up so it's now "later". Yesterday, I went up and removed the pump, stupidly didn't think to plug it in and check it first, took it down to the shop, and it checked out fine. Plugged it in and it did not turn on, raised the float and it turned on, let the float back down and it turned back off. Tried that a half dozen or more times and it did as it was supposed to each time. Since then I have removed the pump from the tank, scraped out the caked on slime, soaked the tank and pump in liquid detergent and warm water, brushed it, have it set out to dry, and it seems ready to go back into service. The thing is though, why would it have stayed running with an empty tank? My only thought is that maybe the last time it ran, when the float came up maybe the slime stuck it to the bottom of the tank cover, holding the switch in the "ON" position. Then, while removing it I jostled it enough for the float to come unstuck, allowing it to work as it's supposed to. Does this make sense, or, at, again, 17 years old, is it time to replace it anyway?
 
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Old 06-23-19, 08:46 AM
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Trying to diagnose something that may have happened nine months ago is tough. It sounds like you've done everything you should though so I'd put it back in service and just keep an eye on it for the next month or so to make sure it's working properly.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 09:40 AM
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Thank you. And yes, I agree, best to check these things out when the problem shows up, but figured it wasn't hurting anything so, as I mentioned, decided to look at it "later". And here it is later already! Anyway, yeah, it passed the tests so think it's going back in today and just keep an eye on it as you said. No big deal, except that crawling up into the attic is not as easy as it used to be so figured I'd ask in case anyone had experience with them and said it was already running on borrowed time or whatever.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 12:00 PM
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17 years old...... change it. Make sure when you install the new one that it has the wiring for overflow protection.

I've seen the old condensate pumps run for a long time while the newer ones.... no. If it's where it can cause damage if it doesn't pump and overflows...... protection is needed. Wire the overflow switch into the condenser line.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 12:27 PM
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Thank you, PJ, I appreciate your advice, and, like you said, 17 years old, am pretty sure that I am going to replace it soon anyway, but not today because the old one is working fine. Figure it's pretty inexpensive insurance. And it does have the safety switch, overflow switch, whatever, so am content with it for the time being. In fact I would have replaced last night and not even posted the question except that the little town I call home was packed with some special happenings yesterday so I didn't feel like fighting traffic to my "go to" hardware store and my local big box didn't show any in stock with the safety switch and I wasn't going to install one without it. I'm wondering now if maybe the water level was close, but not quite close enough for the pump to kick on, then it got cold, froze, and that little bit caused enough rise for it to kick on. Guess it doesn't matter a lot because although I couldn't resist the urge to reinstall it, am pretty sure that I'll pick up a new one this week.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 12:48 PM
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Your a DIY'er so you can play around with the pump. Clean/repair/readjust it.
When I'm at a customers.... at that age.... it's out you go.
 
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