Saturday, August 2, 2014

Stupid things can lead to wet basements... A Cautionary Tale

In a whirlwind of bad luck, my condensate pump went up on the furnace about a year after we moved into the house.  It's an easy part to replace:  some tubing for the pump discharge (reuse what's there), some PVC for the inlet for the furnace (some basic plumbing), a 110V outlet for the pump (provided by code on the furnace itself, so just reuse it), and 2 wires that tell the AC to stop because the pump is full (this is supposed to prevent basement flooding, and is the basis for this hack).
The replacement pump I bought turned out to be crap but I was lucky in the sense that the overflow float switch on that unit was wired the same way as on the old one, so it was almost a drop-in replacement (the plumbing part came in as I had to move the pump's placement on the wall, meaning the fill tube from the AC had to be rerouted).  However, when I went to replace that dud with a "better" pump, things went awry...
I had to reroute the plumbing a SECOND time, forcing me to start from scratch with all new pipes (damn PVC glue...) and to incorporate some vinyl tubing to make placement this time that much easier.  But worst of all, the switch on the "better" pump is Normally Open (the switch closes when the water level is at overflow).  On the previous two pumps, the switch was Normally Closed (the connection would go open circuit if the water was at overflow levels).  Not having the ability to switch the switch, as this "better" pump housing is completely sealed with only inlet vents for the water, the outlet pipe for the discharge, the 2 wires for the overflow switch, and the power cord, I was stuck.  NOTHING is accessible to change that overflow switch.  So I thought "well it's a new pump, so until I can fix it, I'll jumper the wires on the furnace and hope for the best."
Shouldn't have said that... I should not have said that.
continued...