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  1. #1
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    Oct 2007
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    Default Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    We had a Bryant furnace and a humidifier (General Aire Model 1042-LH) installed around 2003 or 2004. Everything worked fine until 2008. At which time the condensate pump to the humidifier started making a whirring noise. My furnace repair guy (from a heating and cooling place)tried to fix it, but said it was worn out and needed to be replaced. I spend over $189, just to have the new pump make a sump pump like noise a little over a year later. (I was also instructed to add vinegar to the pump to keep the parts moving, which I did on a regular basis.)

    I called the furnace service guy back. On December 29, 2009, he took apart the condensate pump and said that there was a lot of sediment and debris, and cleaned it out. I asked if it was supposed to have that much gunk in it, and where was it coming from. He said that it wasn't supposed to have that much gunk in it, and perhaps the problem was coming from dirty air conditioning coils. (I also have a central air unit outside. I asked him what to do with the AC unit coils, but all he said was to add vinegar, about a 1/2 cup a year to the condensate pump, and to change the furnace filters often, which I do. He didn't mention anything about cleaning the coils, or if his company did that.) He also said that condensate pumps don't last long.

    Everything worked fine for a month. It is now January 29 -- and the condensate pump is starting to make the sump pump noise again. I called the maker of the humidifier, who told me that it shouldn't make that kind of noise, and to call the furnace guy back.

    I'm tired of spending money that I don't have just to have the same problem occur again and again. What can I do to keep the condensate pump working and stop the gunk and sediment build up?

    Any help will be appreciated.
    Last edited by Toody; 01-29-2010 at 03:55 PM. Reason: New information

  2. #2
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    Jul 2009
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    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    I doubt very much that any of the sediment or debris would be coming from your Condenser or Evaporator coil. More than likely you have hard water and and that's contributing to the humidifiers evap pad getting filled with crap. The crap will eventually get into the bottom of the drain pan which is why the evap pad should be checked regularly, you can see the build up on the pad, I've seen some pretty nasty ones. I don't know how bad the pad was but maybe you should get some yourself and change it more regularly, as for the vinegar, follow the link. Good Luck!!!

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5360107_prev...learn-now.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    36

    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    Hi Sten,

    Thanks for your response, and the link to the vinegar solution. I will also check the pads

    I have city water, not well water, and I've had no problem with the water being hard. All the gunk settles on the condensate pump and components, but I don't see it coming out of the hose into the sink. (That water appears clear.)

    One thing new I just noticed is that there are bits fuzzy black stuff, which I assume is the same as the stuff collecting in the condensate pump, on my bathroom counter and floor near the register, which is on the floor above the humidifier/furnace. Do you think that I need to have the vents cleaned? Would the vent cleaner guys be able to tell me if anything is wrong, or do they usually just clean? Do you have any idea why the bathroom is the only area getting this much fuzz and debris, but not the other rooms in my house?

  4. #4
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    Northeast
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    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    If I were you I'd get someone to look at your little black fuzzy things ASAP, sounds like mold and if it is your Ductwork will have to be cleaned and your house inspected, don't delay on this. Good Luck !!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    36

    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    Yikes! Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northeast
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    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    By the way, I also have town water that has to be treated by the town to soften it. Not trying to get you worried but you can have your water tested just for this. Good Luck!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    Hi Sten,

    Thanks again. It is better to be safe than sorry!!

    Regardless, do you recommend having the vents/ducts cleaned? I've had some neighbors tell me that it's not really necessary.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Northeast
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    661

    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    It may not be necessary but think of it this way, you have probable mold spores around or near a supply register, it could just be the dampness in your bathroom and an inspection will tell you this. They should also let you know if your ductwork needs cleaning. Call a few reputable companies and not a fly by nighter, some will have a camera that can actually see in the ductwork. Do you have a bathroom exhaust, if not that is one of your problems you have to get the warm moist air out, that's a breeding ground for mold. Good Luck !!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Problem with humidifier condensate pump

    Quote Originally Posted by Sten View Post
    I doubt very much that any of the sediment or debris would be coming from your Condenser or Evaporator coil. More than likely you have hard water and and that's contributing to the humidifiers evap pad getting filled with crap. The crap will eventually get into the bottom of the drain pan which is why the evap pad should be checked regularly, you can see the build up on the pad, I've seen some pretty nasty ones. I don't know how bad the pad was but maybe you should get some yourself and change it more regularly, as for the vinegar, follow the link. Good Luck!!!

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5360107_prev...learn-now.html
    Toody ……. I'm with Sten.


    In trying to determine the setup in your home -----

    The type of humidifier you have is a flow - through system.

    A tube is connected to a cold water pipe somewhere close by for supplying water to the humidifier.
    That tube will be connected to an electric solenoid valve located on the side of the humidifier which turns on and off the water flow to the humidifier.
    The solenoid is controlled by a humidistat, which is wired to the furnace and operates when the furnace is on.

    The water is dispensed through a metering orifice on the top of the humidifier down through an evaporation pad. Warm air from the furnace supply plenum flows through the evaporator pad , evaporating the water and passing moisture through to the air return plenum to be distributed into the home.
    The excess water that doesn’t evaporate during this process flows out the drain tube located on the bottom of the humidifier.
    Typically there isn’t any condensate pump normally associated with a humidifier. The drain tube usually is just gravity feed to a floor drain. Unless there isn’t a floor drain readily available then perhaps the installer needed to install one to move the water to a sink or other drain elsewhere.

    Since the water source for the humidifier is the house water supply minerals will accumulate on the evaporator pad ---- which I suspect is where the confusion is.
    Typically with the atomizing process a high percentage of the minerals collect on the pad and are normally carried off with the excess water being drained.

    Part of the regular maintenance procedure is to remove the evaporator pad and clean it with a vinegar solution to remove mineral build up. If the evaporator pad becomes clogged with minerals it needs to be replaced.

    Also, when the season changes to using the A/C the water supply should be turned off to humidifier along with turning off the humidistat control and setting the air damper to “ Low “ or “ Summer “. In other words--- it shouldn’t be left running all year round.

    This might explain why the system worked for awhile and is now causing grief.

    As for the mildew in your ducting --- perhaps you have the humidity level set too high or you may not even need the humidifier at all. You might putting too much moisture into the home.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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