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

1 recommendation

reply to John Galt

Re: My HVAC condensate line connects to sewer line

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
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
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
kudos:2
Reviews:
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·AT&T Midwest
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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
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
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
Premium
join:2000-01-17
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.
--
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kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter

1 recommendation

reply to KrK

Re: My HVAC condensate line connects to sewer line

Having not read the entire thread, the condensate does go through a regular sewer line unless there is not plumbing in the slab, and then it could go through a floor drain to the sump. But in both cases it would need a deep seal trap in order to help prevent it evaporating to the point it breaks the seal and allow gasses through.

I once saw a Holmse on Homes where he tied (drilled a hole) a 1” pvc pipe into the sewer line below the floor bypassing the floor drain. He claimed it eliminated a trip hazard which the customer ate up. In Illinois he would be brought before the Dept. of Health and told never to touch a piece of pipe again, and have to not only refund monies, but pay to have it done right. I’ve seen that happen a couple of times where a contractor plays plumber and gets the book thrown at him.

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robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Anon

Re: My HVAC condensate line connects to sewer line

Whether or not the installation conforms to local requirements the OP still has a problem because the installation presents the possibility either harmful and potentially deadly bacteria or dangerous sewer gases entering the building air handling system and being distributed throughout their home.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to bcool

I'm surprised that no one looking at the pics caught the fact that the plumber doesn't appear to have used any primer on any of the glued joints.



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

said by robbin:

Whether or not the installation conforms to local requirements the OP still has a problem because the installation presents the possibility either harmful and potentially deadly bacteria or dangerous sewer gases entering the building air handling system and being distributed throughout their home.

^^ This. There's a right way way and a wrong way, legal or not, it's not installed the right way and is a problem for the OP to have to manually put liquid in his trap to avoid this risk... and while the OP is now aware of this issue, a future buyer might be blissfully unaware.... basically, it should be fixed.
--
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kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
reply to robbin

How do you know that he didn't use clear to prevent a messy job. We use clear all the time in exposed areas.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

Clear primer? How does the inspector know you used any at all? What code do you operate under?


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to kherr

So I scanned through the thread and found the pic. That is definitely a BIG NO NO. You have to have at least an 1.5" deep seal trap with vent and air gap !! The trap that the HVAC put on does not quantify as a serviceable trap. They'll have that trap even if they are draining it to the floor. In Illinois they'd take a picture of that to show !%$#@ ups during the yearly continuing ed program. I don't know what your local code is but here it's a call to the sawzall crew. That' a plumbing inspectors wet dream ---> RED TAGs !!!



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
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2 edits
reply to kherr

said by kherr:

How do you know that he didn't use clear to prevent a messy job. We use clear all the time in exposed areas.

»www.pexsupply.com/PVC-Primer-1419000

PVC Primer

This category includes Clear PVC Primer and Purple PVC Primer. PVC Primer is the recommended method to soften and prepare surface of PVC pipe and fittings (all sizes and Schedules) before applying solvent cements. Meets ASTM F656.
_________________________________________________________

»www.cloroben.com/products/pipecement.html

Hercules UnPurple Primer is designed to be used anywhere that regular purple primer can be used. Instead of being colored purple, a clear primer with a unique patented ultraviolet sensitive ingredient reveals its purple presence under UV light, helping to prevent staining and the resulting property damage. Patented Unpurple Primer is designed to work identically to other PVC/CPVC primers. No new technique is involved in the installation or testing. Simply apply as any other primer would be used.

This product meets standards set by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), and the specifications of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as required by the Uniform Plumbing Code of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).
Primer color: Clear: VOC Level: 510 gpl

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to kherr

said by kherr:

How do you know that he didn't use clear to prevent a messy job. We use clear all the time in exposed areas.

While the pics aren't extremely clear, there does not appear to be any smearing of the ink as there would be if a proper application of primer had been used.


bcool
Premium
join:2000-08-25
The Ozarks
reply to bcool


last joint in condensate line before sewer connection
Regarding "primer" question, see if this pic is better

I do have my own plumber who says he can fix this so that it is
correct as so many of you have cited.

Thanks all.