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goobee2

join:2002-04-13
Duarte, CA

Air Conditioning Condensation Drain Pipe Problem/Question

It seems both of my drain lines are stopped up as water is pouring out of the secondary drain (at least I think the pipe with the two traps is the secondary). I found one drain that runs down to sink on the second floor. However, I can't locate the secondary drain anywhere outside. I looked all over the walls and under the eves from up close and afar, they isn't one. Do you think the installer went cheap and just put a "Y" connector on and fed both into the sink? I'm kinda worried that if not, where is the pipe feeding the water to? The attic is full of blown in attic and buries everything so that you can't see anything underneath.

Also, are the traps supposed to be uncapped?

Thanks.



Warzau
Premium
join:2000-10-26
Naperville, IL
kudos:1
IIRC they are uncapped so you can periodically pour a little bleach/water to keep them clean.


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3
reply to goobee2
said by goobee2:

It seems both of my drain lines are stopped up as water is pouring out of the secondary drain (at least I think the pipe with the two traps is the secondary). I found one drain that runs down to sink on the second floor. However, I can't locate the secondary drain anywhere outside. I looked all over the walls and under the eves from up close and afar, they isn't one. Do you think the installer went cheap and just put a "Y" connector on and fed both into the sink? I'm kinda worried that if not, where is the pipe feeding the water to? The attic is full of blown in attic and buries everything so that you can't see anything underneath.

Also, are the traps supposed to be uncapped?

Thanks.
Yes, there's a good chance the installer connected the two drains together. I've seen it too many times. When it's done that way, without installing an emergency cut-off float switch, the homeowner never knows when the primary drain gets clogged because the water starts flowing through the secondary drain. Then, when both become clogged, you don't know until your ceiling falls in.

It's possible that the installer ran individual lines, but the secondary drain isn't stubbed out of the eave, but may be right above one of the eave vents. I know you can't see the drains because they're buried in insulation, but can you take a guess where the secondary drain line might end up if it went straight out to the side of the attic? Did you not see any water coming out of any areas under the eaves where there are vents installed?

You should install a riser on each one of the tees, about 4-6" long, so that they're both above the height of the drain pan in the cooling coil.
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goobee2

join:2002-04-13
Duarte, CA
reply to goobee2
I disassembled the sink drain and found a lot of crude resembling soggy attic insulation blocking the flow. I clean it all out and just to be sure, I connected my shop vac to the AC drain with some duct tape and ran it continuously to clear the whole pipe. From the attic, I can tell that air is flowing through the right side pipe (the one with the tees) so this must be the primary drain. There's no sound or vibration coming from the other one so we now know that it's not connected into a "Y".

What is the purpose of the risers and can I cap them? It seems insulation is getting into the open drain openings.


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3

1 edit
said by goobee2:

I disassembled the sink drain and found a lot of crude resembling soggy attic insulation blocking the flow. I clean it all out and just to be sure, I connected my shop vac to the AC drain with some duct tape and ran it continuously to clear the whole pipe. From the attic, I can tell that air is flowing through the right side pipe (the one with the tees) so this must be the primary drain. There's no sound or vibration coming from the other one so we now know that it's not connected into a "Y".

What is the purpose of the risers and can I cap them? It seems insulation is getting into the open drain openings.
The risers, just cut pieces of 3/4" PVC pipe, are there to ensure water won't rise above the level of the pipe tees. I'm surprised that water wasn't coming out of the first tee closest to the evaporator coil. Air pressure from the coil will come out of the pipe before the trap and might cause water to overflow. The risers will help prevent that from happening. I wouldn't cap the first tee closest to the coil. If you really need to, drill a 1/4" hole in it to relieve some of the air pressure to keep the water from blowing through the trap and defeating the purpose of having it there. Although, I don't really think not having the hole will cause any serious issues. The second one furthest away from the coil can be capped without the hole. If your plumbing waste systems is all PVC, you should pour some bleach in the tees every other month or so to help keep the slime buildup in check.

By the way, I would see about redoing the insulation on that duct and any other ducts that look like that one. Check around those sheet metal collars to see if you're leaking any air. You don't want to air condition the attic.
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goobee2

join:2002-04-13
Duarte, CA
Yeah, it's pretty bad. The AC came with the house like that. Damn tract homes builder skimped in everything and everywhere. There's air loss on all the ducts, it looks like an amateur installed it.

I think there's a slow freon leak too. Is there any odor with freon?

Thanks for all the advice.


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3
said by goobee2:

Yeah, it's pretty bad. The AC came with the house like that. Damn tract homes builder skimped in everything and everywhere. There's air loss on all the ducts, it looks like an amateur installed it.

I think there's a slow freon leak too. Is there any odor with freon?

Thanks for all the advice.
Yeah, it does look pretty bad from what I can see. No, Freon is odorless. Normally, you will see an oily sheen on the copper tubing whenever a leak is present because of the compressor oil that migrates with the refrigerant as it travels throughout the system. If the leak isn't outside at the condensing unit and related copper tubing, then most likely it's in the cooling coil. Looking at your photo, it's appears you have a cooling coil with no access panel on the end. If it did have an access panel, I would suggest taking the panel off and looking at the copper tubing bends for signs of oil.
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goobee2

join:2002-04-13
Duarte, CA

1 edit
Test running the AC, seems to be draining OK. Will need to run it more tomorrow when it's hot to be possitive.

I just noticed another condensation leak, it's being created at the connection with the duct tape (nice touch by the builder, usage of the duct tape here)

It's dripping down the side of the evaporator from that pipe. What can I do to fix this?



By the way, the unit is model "HCF037", I can't see to find any information on it over the internet. The furnance and condenser outside is Rheem but there's nothing on Rheem's site remotely close to this model number.


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3
said by goobee2:

Test running the AC, seems to be draining OK. Will need to run it more tomorrow when it's hot to be possitive.

I just noticed another condensation leak, it's being created at the connection with the duct tape (nice touch by the builder, usage of the duct tape here)

It's dripping down the side of the evaporator from that pipe. What can I do to fix this?

By the way, the unit is model "HCF037", I can't see to find any information on it over the internet. The furnance and condenser outside is Rheem but there's nothing on Rheem's site remotely close to this model number.
Glad to hear you got your drain situation cleared up. The leak/condensation you're getting on the copper suction line (it gets cold, so it sweats) can be stopped by using some tubing insulation, which you can get at most hardware centers such as Home Depot, Lowes, or you local hardware store. They might not have tubing insulation like what's on the line now, but the stuff they have should work fine. Cut off a small section of the insulation and take it with you to find the right diameter tubing insulation.

Now that I can see the evaporator coil more closely, I was wrong about it not having an access panel. It does, so if you're up to it, you can take the screws out and pull the panel back away from the coil enough to look inside with a flashlight for signs of oil/leaks.

As for the coil manufacturer, I can't remember who it is, but I've seen plenty of those horizontal cased coils. It's not all that important. It's a 3 ton coil.
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goobee2

join:2002-04-13
Duarte, CA

1 recommendation

I'll hold off doing too much in the attic. Too friggin hot up there right now, I'll take a look when it cools down.

Off to the store to pick up some pipe insulation and a length of schedule 40 PVC piping to add risers to the 2 tees. Better make a note to myself to not forget the PVC glue.



SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3
Good deal. I probably don't have to tell you, but the best time is first thing in the morning...getting in attics, that is. Good luck.
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Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to goobee2
insulating the low side lines also helps maintain system efficency. or so ive heard.
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[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports