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Jack_in_VA
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join:2007-11-26
North, VA
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reply to 54067323

Re: My HVAC condensate line connects to sewer line

said by 54067323:

said by Jack_in_VA:

I see nothing but where his condensate line from his AC connects directly to the sewer line and has a trap.

said by bcool:

I notice in my basement that my A/C condensate drain connects directly to sewer line albeit through a trap (whatever you call that "detour" drop in line).

You sure about that?

What OP said.

I notice in my basement that my A/C condensate drain connects directly to sewer line albeit through a trap


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

said by Jack_in_VA:

I notice in my basement that my A/C condensate drain connects directly to sewer line albeit through a trap

Read again.

Then pipe goes up for a bit and is capped; also pipe continues below T to trap and then on to the sewer line connection. So the cap can be removed to introduce water in the line like in winter when the trap could possibly dry out.


Jack_in_VA
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join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

said by 54067323:

said by Jack_in_VA:

I notice in my basement that my A/C condensate drain connects directly to sewer line albeit through a trap

Read again.

Then pipe goes up for a bit and is capped; also pipe continues below T to trap and then on to the sewer line connection. So the cap can be removed to introduce water in the line like in winter when the trap could possibly dry out.

That is the standard installation for an AC Condensate drain. "T" with a removable cap to pour water in or bleach to disinfect before the trap.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

said by Jack_in_VA:

That is the standard installation for an AC Condensate drain. "T" with a removable cap to pour water in or bleach to disinfect before the trap.

Sorry, but that is misleading and not addressing the problem...

A condensate drain should not have a "direct" connection to a sewer line.

The reason for that is, if the trap dries out for whatever reason, once the A/C runs it can pull sewer gas out of the “directly” connected sewer line.

Very simple, very basic and considering sewer gas is methane, very dangerous.


Cho Baka
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reply to bcool

I think there may be an interpretation issue here.

If the condensate drain is connected to a "sewer line" upstream of a trap, there is no issue - similar to how dishwashers are connected.

Where there can be cause for concern is where a condensate drain is connected to the "sewer line" downstream of any trap.
--
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Jack_in_VA
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join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

said by Cho Baka:

I think there may be an interpretation issue here.

If the condensate drain is connected to a "sewer line" upstream of a trap, there is no issue - similar to how dishwashers are connected.

Where there can be cause for concern is where a condensate drain is connected to the "sewer line" downstream of any trap.

+1 EXACTLY

Just because it's connected to a sewer line is not a problem.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
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The problem is the way it is connected.



John Galt
Forward, March
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Happy Camp
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reply to bcool

Pics...!



Majestik
World Traveler
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join:2001-05-11
Tulsa, OK

1 edit
reply to bcool

said by bcool:

I notice in my basement that my A/C condensate drain connects directly to sewer line albeit through a trap (whatever you call that "detour" drop in line). The 1" PVC comes out of furnace to T
Then pipe goes up for a bit and is capped; also pipe continues below T to trap and then on to the sewer line connection. So the cap can be removed to introduce water in the line like in winter when the trap could possibly dry out.

I'm sure this is not optimal set up but will it do? I don't mind dropping water in the line once in a while. No biggie.

Thanks.

I'm in a split level condo. There was a PVC drain line that went to a drain in the floor under the downstairs stairway. Instead of that I decided to run another PVC pipe through the wall into the underground French drain outside of the utility room that house the units. Less than two feet away. The pipe is running along side of my Tankless water heater PR valve drain.
I like having that floor drain below to take the water from my washing machine if there is ever a leak. When I remodeled that area I had the laundry room floor done to channel water directly to the drain.
I keep pure vegetable oil in the trap. Same with all of the traps in the guest bathroom.

The old PVC pipe is perfect for routing wiring downstairs.
--
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robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to bcool

This quote from another forum gives a good explanation of how connections may be made from the condensate pipe to the sewer system. I have bolded the part specific to your install.

"Many jurisdictions have provisions for alternate methods of condensate disposal besides just draining to exterior grade or a floor drain. Any connection to the sanitary sewer system will require a trap. This is called an indirect waste by the Codes. Many times I see condensate drains terminating at trapped receptors (a standpipe, like used for the clothes washer) connected to the sanitary sewer system. Traps installed only for the condensate drain will require trap primers to keep them wet. Because of this problem the most common termination locations are routinely wetted traps such as lavatory sinks and bathtubs. The fixture keeps the trap wet to prevent sewer gas flow back into the air handler. The condensate is connected with a branch tailpiece on the fixture side of the trap, such as to the outlet of the lavatory sink or the overflow of the bathtub. Connection to the sewer side of the trap is improper and will result in sewer gas flow to the air handler since the condensate line trap (if installed) will dry out in winter. Another common location for condensate disposal is the clothes washer standpipe."

»www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum/···_ID=2611



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to 54067323

NM



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to John Galt

said by John Galt:

Pics...!

Now why bring up forum rules here? Geez!!!


bcool
Premium
join:2000-08-25
The Ozarks

3 edits
reply to bcool

Sorry back again. Will get you pics immediately. (See them in next post below.)

As a side note here. Nobody but nobody told me about lifting cap off of drain pipe and dropping in just water or water/bleach like during winter. I ran gas furnace (instead of heat pump) for most of the winter. I don't have a clue if any condensate is expelled out of air exchanger when running a 95% high efficiency gas furnace? I don't know if condensate is created when running the heat pump on heat? But I was only told about putting water in the line yesterday. However, there has =not= been even the slightest hint of sewer gas or methane smells in the house. Are chances fair that I dodged the bullet here?



bcool
Premium
join:2000-08-25
The Ozarks

1 recommendation

reply to bcool


Condensate drain from furnace
 
Click for full size
drain connects to sewer
Sorry, I should have posted these to begin with...


bcool
Premium
join:2000-08-25
The Ozarks

1 edit
reply to bcool

I suppose this "trap" (pic #2) fills and water pushes up over the ridge onward eventually dropping down to the sewer connection, right?
Unless there's blockage for some reason, no way the water backs all the way up to and back into furnace, right? Gravity is a wondrous thing! Right?

(not to be alarmist here, but if city sewer were to back up all the way back up through my line, in theory it's possible sewer could back up through condensate line right into HVAC? Am I missing something?)


guppy_fish
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Lakeland, FL
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reply to bcool

That is NOT code compliant, that's a direct, sealed connection that your furnace/AC blower which WILL suck gases directly from the sewer if the trap doesn't have enough water in it ( very likely in the heating season )

There is low pressure in the AC/Furnace when ever the fan is operating that with will literally vacuum gases from the sewer pipe right into your home.

Not sure why people think this is OK, dishwashers don't have a vacuum effect and at least here in FL, one is required to have an open break if using a drain.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

said by guppy_fish:

That is NOT code compliant, that's a direct, sealed connection that your furnace/AC blower which WILL suck gases directly from the sewer if the trap doesn't have enough water in it ( very likely in the heating season )

Maybe, maybe not. If the furnace is a 90% efficiency condensating furnace, then the same drain line might be used which would keep water in the line all year round.

So to make the statement you did is incorrect.

Edit - THe post right before the pictures states that the OP has a 95% furnace of which all are condensating. So my assumption, based on the fact there only appears to be a single drain line, is that the one pictured is used both in summer and winter.


bcool
Premium
join:2000-08-25
The Ozarks

1 edit
reply to bcool

My plumber saw this and said according to good standards this is lousy way to do it. Apparently this drain set up is quite common around here...but as my plumber quipped: that don't make it right.

Well for now, I can certainly do a little extra to be sure water is in trap. The plumber says he can do something (can't explain it) that would be better and CORRECT. I may let him once I tackle a few other things around here.



cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27
reply to bcool

Where I am at, code is condensate to sump, sump to exterior. We had notices that nothing was to go into sewer line but plumbing (septic) line from tub/washer/sink/toilet.

Used to dump outside (condensate ran out wall next to furnace), but that only meant water back at foundation. Ironically, the sump dumps out to shrubs...near foundation.
--
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John Galt
Forward, March
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Happy Camp
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1 recommendation

reply to ropeguru

said by ropeguru:

Now why bring up forum rules here? Geez!!!

bcool See Profile is not an anon poster...so the 'rule' doesn't apply to him in that respect.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

1 recommendation

said by John Galt:

said by ropeguru:

Now why bring up forum rules here? Geez!!!

bcool See Profile is not an anon poster...so the 'rule' doesn't apply to him in that respect.

I stand corrected. It was for anon posters. Thanks for the reminder.


leibold
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join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
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reply to bcool

said by bcool:

(not to be alarmist here, but if city sewer were to back up all the way back up through my line, in theory it's possible sewer could back up through condensate line right into HVAC? Am I missing something?)

City sewer backups do unfortunately happen and they can be so bad as to make a home uninhabitable (so there is good cause to be alarmed).

With the specific question about sewer backflow reaching your condensate tray it is very unlikely. Gravity works here too and the drains in your home that will flood in the case of a sewer backflow are the lowest ones in your home (shower,bathtub,floor drains followed by toilet bowls).

In areas where sewer backflow is likely (many cities still have combined storm drains and sewer which can at times be overwhelmed with rain water) a backflow preventer can be installed in the sewer line.
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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to cableties

said by cableties:

Where I am at, code is condensate to sump, sump to exterior. We had notices that nothing was to go into sewer line but plumbing (septic) line from tub/washer/sink/toilet.

Used to dump outside (condensate ran out wall next to furnace), but that only meant water back at foundation. Ironically, the sump dumps out to shrubs...near foundation.

And that would be fine for summertime A/C condensate but in the winter for a condensating gas furnace, the line would just freeze up and then the sump would overflow.

Seems that a lot of time when these rules are made up, the entire scope is never looked at.


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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reply to bcool

said by bcool:


(not to be alarmist here, but if city sewer were to back up all the way back up through my line, in theory it's possible sewer could back up through condensate line right into HVAC? Am I missing something?)

Possible, yes. Probable, no. Do you have another fixture or drain at a lower level in the basement? That is where the backed up sanitary waste would typically end up. But see #2 below.

I would not leave a condensate line directly connected to the sewer as yours is.

However your photos bring up a couple of other things:

1. Above the tee where the condensate line ties in, is the 4" pipe a sewer or a vent? If it's a sewer (carrying waste, not just air and vapor), you need to find out if it can serve as a wet vent. If it's a vent, that's good.

2. If the 4" line is a sewer above, and if the line clogs downstream of the condensate line but upstream of floor drains or other basement fixtures, sewage from upstairs can back up into your evaporator drain pan.

3. If wet venting is allowed, or if the 4" line is a vent, I would put a 1-1/2" trap and standpipe on the threaded tee. I would remove the trap from the condensate line. Then I would re-build the condensate line to make an air gap between the condensate line and the standpipe. The trap can be capped during the heating season, or if you have a gas furnace with a condensate line, it could serve that as well. Otherwise I agree that some way to prime the trap would be helpful.

4. The problem with wet venting or not venting is that enough flow in the 4" pipe could suck the water out of the trap. That could be a problem in the existing configuration.
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pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to Majestik

said by Majestik:

I keep pure vegetable oil in the trap. Same with all of the traps in the guest bathroom.

It's better to use a mineral oil for this purpose. Vegetable oils will get rancid and/or attract vermin.


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to bcool

I had no idea that mine ran to the much larger PVC gutter drains I had in front of my house. I found out one day when the PVC pipe grate became restricted with leaves and rainwater backed up the drain lines and began pouring OUT of the condensate drain line in the garage, in effect causing flooding in the garage from a thunderstorm outside. Brilliant design, that. Blowing compressed air through the pipe confirmed it, you could hear it blowing out the downspout entrances.

I think your setup while working is a bit less then ideal because as you noted in winter months the line will dry out, if you forget to add water then sewer gases can vent up your condensate line and back into the unit and blown through the house.
--
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KrK
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Tulsa, OK
reply to Anon

said by Jack_in_VA:

I'm trying to find where the builder ripped off the OP by "taking all kinds of shortcuts"

He's posted several threads recently about the builder's sloppy construction, defects, cutting corners.
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KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
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Tulsa, OK

Re: My HVAC condensate line connects to sewer line

Yes, but it completely validates the statement about the builder taking all kinds of short cuts and this is another one, which you directly challenged, which in itself was going off topic. The topic is the condensate drain, which is improperly installed.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Expand your moderator at work