I am looking to buy a condensate pump that can push water 20' away ( I need to circumvent the fact that I can't slope a drain through the ceiling so I need the pump to push 8' up and then another 10' horizontally through a 3/8" pcv pipe Specs here: https://littlegiant.com/media/131855/995125_VCMA-20-Series_08-12.pdf The documentation is poor but a very good review on Amazon is saying the following

The pump’s manual, which is for all models in the VCMA series, is annoyingly vague about certain things, and one of those is the maximum pumping distance and height. The manual I have says the -15 sub-series has a “15 foot shut off”, whatever that means; my guess is that it cannot pump higher than 15 feet, but I don’t know of that is correct. Elsewhere in the same manual, it says, “Route outlet (discharge) tubing or piping from pump straight up as high as necessary. Do not extend higher than 75% of the total dynamic head capacity of the pump.” Nowhere in the manual does it say what the number is. Nowhere on the actual pump does it say how high it can be relied on to operate properly. Suffice it to say that pumping from a basement floor level up to the ceiling, or even up to a sink or drain on the next floor up seems to be within this pump’s capacity. The manual DOES recommend against using a discharge hose or pipe larger than 3/8” ID; apparently use of a wider discharge can result in excessive reverse flow as the pump is shutting off, and maybe the check valve cannot deal with that. It is strongly recommended that the discharge hose/pipe be installed such that it does bend back down near the end, so it should be routed to go up at least a few inches higher than its eventual discharge into a drain.

  • This seems prone to failuere. Consider the amount of water standing in 28 feet of 3/8 inch pipe. Would this ever get cold enough to freeze? What happens if the pump cycles off and the water drains back? Look for a more direct discharge path. Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 3:22
  • this in the finished basement ceiling no chances that will ever freeze
    – MiniMe
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


You have selected the 230v model, I have the 120V model. The only standing water will be the 8' vertical to the ceiling and then a slight loop to the horizonal section. The horizonal should still have a small slope toward the end where the water is discharged. I cannot tell if your specific model has the check valve in the outlet. None is described in the link to the pump description. You will need the check valve. At 10' vertical rise, it will pump 48gph, so 8' should not be an issue.

  • I have had the best luck with the little giant pumps they are worth the premium and if pumping up you do want to make sure there is a check valve.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 13:51
  • RE check valve not specified in the link: It's in the bullet points: "Check valve — Acetal". Presumably it's included with the pump. Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 4:47

OK I have checked this with some engineers and they say that if the max shutoff head is 20 feet, don't have a vertical head of more than 15 feet. (that is what this is referring to)

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