condensate pump for dehumidifier?


Hi guys,
I'd like to set up a dehumidifier in my basement so it doesn't have to be emptied all the time. Due to space considerations I don't think tying it into my existing condensate pump is practical; that is jammed between the furnace and the hot water heater, near the clothes dryer. So the obvious solution would be to just add another condensate pump to get the water over to the deep sink.
Question is, are there any semi-affordable ones that work well? I've seen comments here before to the effect of "just get a $30 condensate pump and hook it up" and I am having a hard time finding one. They're about $80 at the big boxes nearby, and looking online the cheapest seems to be about $40 plus shipping. Obviously I'm leaning towards ordering online but don't have any experience with selecting one, so what's a good brand? I'd need one that could lift the water about 8 feet, maybe 15 feet horizontally, then drop about 4 feet into the sink. Is that an unusual application that would require a heavier duty unit than the cheapest models?
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Damn this is an expensive week for me. I just went to empty the bucket in the old dehumidifier, which I moved out to the garage. Apparently after I took it out there yesterday it sucked out about 1 pint of water and then the compressor locked up - this was maybe 30 hours ago. The whole purpose of buying a new dehumidifier was so that I could put one in my garage. SUCK!
As an aside, the old dehumidifier just had the little rotating knob humidistat on it and I'd set it for slightly higher than "normal" humidity. It cycled on and off, more off than on. The new one has a digital humidistat so I set it for 55% RH because I've heard that to minimize all of the bad things that can happen to your basement due to incorrect humidity you should be in the 45-55% range. Apparently the old dehumidifier was actually set for about 60 to 65% RH. New unit showed 65% when I turned it on, quickly dropped to 60, now is showing 55% but have not heard it shut off yet (granted, I haven't been in my basement for the whole time period.) So I assume that it just displays in 5% increments and showing 55% means it's probably in the range of 52.5-57.5%. This is a 45 pint unit and based on the amount of water it's pulled out, I don't know that I suspect that there's a problem with the unit; more that my house is very open and it would seem that due to the climate (this AM: almost 90 degrees and 57% RH outside; now, 77 degrees and raining) the humidity in the whole house is higher than 55% and trying to suck it down to that is taxing the unit. Any real problem just leaving it at 60% and letting it go, even if that isn't "ideal?"
nate
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"Nate Nagel" <> wrote

(Sad Smile, I know the feeling)

Thats what I would do. The alternative comes to mind that you may want a second discretely placed unit inside the house?
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Leave it alone for a day or two, then see if it's still running constantly. If your old dehumidifier was set to 65%, then *everything* in your basement that can absorb water vapour has about that level of absorbed water. If you try to bring the humidity down to 55%, everything is going to be "bleeding" moisture into the air for a while - your drywall and studs, your bookshelfs, all the books, etc. Once the humidity has been 55% for a while, everything else will stabilize at that level, and the dehumidifier will have to run less.

If outside air can flow freely through your house, you are trying to dehumidify the outdoors. That is a hopeless task. You need to provide some barrier between inside and outside air.
On the other hand, it's not "taxing" your unit to run all the time; it oought to be built to deal with that. At worst, it won't be able to keep the humidity down to what you want.
    Dave
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At my parents house, we put a couple boards over the laundry sink, and let the dehum drip into the sink.
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Dave Martindale wrote:

Follow up - I think you were correct. It's taken a couple of days, but it finally started cycling at 55%. I kicked it down to 50% last night, now it's running more or less constantly again, but definitely stabilized. I wish I had a good hygrometer to measure the humidity upstairs so I'd know if I was trying to fight the whole house or not. Might have to pick one of those up.
As an aside, I was mistaken about the new LG dehumidifiers - the fan runs when you first plug them in, but after three minutes or so it either kicks in the compressor and/or shuts off, depending on humidity. If the compressor then cycles off, the fan shuts off too, as one would expect. This is in contrast to the Frigidaire model I tried first - the fan on that would run constantly no matter what, and it would not recover correctly from a power failure.
I still am not 100% satisfied with the LG's - when recovering from a power failure, if the power has been out for more than a few seconds, the dehumidifier will revert to "on" mode rather than whatever humidity selection you'd set on it. So it should probably be unplugged in the wintertime, when dehumidification is not required or desirable. Also I suspect that the one in the garage might have an issue with the humidistat - twice now I've found it running but the ambient humidity displayed is lower than the setpoint. (the garage seems to have stabilized far quicker than the basement for some reason, even though it's nearly as large, and was far more humid - this was the initial impetus to go out and buy a new humidifier in the first place.)
I'm just posting this more for the benefit of anyone shopping for a dehumidifier, so they don't have to go through the process of making an expensive purchase, getting it home, and finding that it doesn't suit their needs at all, like I did...

It's a house built in 1948... I'm sure it's not as airtight as it could be, although the windows and doors have been upgraded over the years. The windows in the basement are still the originals; I'd like to get those replaced in the near future, soon as I come up with some cash in the home improvement fund.
nate
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Coincidentally, I found some refurbished "GE" brand dehumidifiers last weekend. They were $100 for a 30 pt/day unit with electronic controls. The first one ran but produced no cooling and thus no water - probably no refrigerant in the system. I expect that was why it was originally returned for service, and the service place didn't catch the problem or refilled it without fixing the leak.
I exchanged it and the second one seems fine. The manual for these claims that if the power goes off and comes back on, it continues operating with all of its previous settings (after waiting for a 3 minute restart delay). So it must store the on/off status plus the humidity setting in non-volatile memory.
The unit does have a "continuous run" mode, but normal operation is on-demand based on the humidistat. When the humidity drops low enough, the compressor shuts down, then the fan a few minutes later. The fan definitely does not run forever.
    Dave
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Followup: the handful of humidor hygrometers that I ordered through amazon showed up yesterday. I calibrated them with the salt solution in a Tupperware container and two of them were spot on. I tweaked the remainder and they're in a container restabilizing for a final check. I stuck one of the ones that was well calibrated out of the box on the outside of the return air duct in the basement (return not supply so it wouldn't be thrown off by cooled/heated air) next to the control for the humidifier. The *de*humidifier is sitting on the floor about 4' away. Currently the hygrometer is reading about 46-47 %RH despite the fact that my dehumidifier was set for 55 %RH. I am certain that this is a valid reading because I was calibrating them at 75%RH so even if it hadn't fully stabilized it wasn't reading high. I kicked the dehumidifier control up to 60 last night and it was still cycling this afternoon. Now it's up to 70, as high as I can set it. I'm glad I went through this exercise, if I'd left it set at 55 I would have been wasting a lot of electricity over-dehumidifying my basement! I apparently already did, drying out my house more than I had to... live and learn. So so far the dehumidifiers are working well but the humidistats seem to be inaccurate. I'll put another hygrometer in teh garage once they're done calibrating, to see if the unit in the garage is similarly pessimistic. The garage was much damper than the basement before installing a dehumidifier, being completely unconditioned.
As to my original question about the condensate pump, I found one at a HD slightly farther away, but they want $71 for it which is significantly higher than the $55 on HD's web site. What a f'ing rip off and of course it's not available to order online. I guess i'll keep emptying buckets for a while longer, I just can't justify the extra cost (esp. when I just blew a whole wad of cash on lumber to make new closet shelves, and a fairly expensive roll of RG-6 quad shield... the home improvement fun never stops.) if I get really tired of it and feel like blowing some cash I guess I'll have to order some from drillspot or something.
I guess the lesson from all this is that a $5 humidor hygrometer is more accurate than whatever LG is using for their dehumidifier controls, so wherever you're attempting to modify humidity, it's worth it to invest in a couple to double check yourself.
nate
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This is what I use:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16896101031&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Air+Cooling++Heating+++Purifying-_-DeLonghi-_-96101031
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Sev wrote:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16896101031&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Air+Cooling++Heating+++Purifying-_-DeLonghi-_-96101031 I've already got the dehumidifiers, and the Amazon reviews of the DeLonghi made me run away screaming. According to most, it seems, the condensate pump is quite problematic. The LG unit I bought ($180 at That Orange Colored Store Whose Name Should Not Be Invoked) plus a $80 separate condensate pump is still only slightly more than the unit you mention.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

I've used a Flotec FPCP-15ULS condensate pump from Depot for that application with no issues. Nothing about the application sounds unusual.
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Pete C. wrote:

Hmm, neither Despot near my house even sells condensate pumps, or at least I can't find 'em and the help doesn't know what one is.
I just looked it up on the web site, they only have a FPCP-20ULST which is still $55, albeit that's better than the $80 one at Lowe's... but it's out of stock.
I guess that's about the going rate for them...?
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Seems to be. The one I have even has a set of alarm contacts that weren't really mentioned on the box, a couple yellow wires sticking out, so you can set it up to shutdown the source of water if it's not clearing the tank for some reason.
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Pete C. wrote:

Is that what those are? I have a pair of those on my existing one, now I'm tempted to rig an ice cube to disable the humidifier (yes, I use one in winter) and ring a buzzer. Could do the same with the dehumidifier quite easily. Having lots of experience with fire alarm, I do have some amount of experience with using relays to do all sorts of stuff that the equipment "shouldn't" do...
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Those are really handy for central AC, so the AC doesn't drain all over the floor, or attic if the pump fails.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

yes, I have that too. how is that typically wired, I assume in the thermostat wire between the thermostat and the control board of the furnace/air handler? I guess I would need an ice cube even to make that work as I have a high efficiency furnace, humidifier, and central air all sharing one condensate pump.
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Typically the float switch is wired in series with the yellow wire from the stat.
As the furnace uses the condensate pump for heating, it could also be wired in series with RH/RC.
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Cant you run a hose on the unit to a drain, its cheaper than pumping water.
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ransley wrote:

nope, no floor drains in my basement. Lowest drain is the deep sink. One major disappointment in an otherwise decent house. Odd thing is that the sewer is under the slab, but nobody apparently thought to install a drain before pouring it. SWMBO still thinks she wants at least a bathroom/shower stall down there, so it may get busted up at some vague point in the future, but not any time soon. Additionally I have a second dehumidifier in the garage, which, you guessed it, has no drain in the slab. Yes, the sewer is underground leaving that building as well *sigh*
I would have been more picky, but a house that isn't falling down with a real garage that I could afford in this area is somewhat rare.
nate
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Sink, no problem, hang dehumidifier from ceiling so its above sink and auto drains.
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