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  1. #1

    Default Secondary Into Primary

    I see a lot of secondary condensate drains tied into the primary, even when there is a float switch in the pan, it is in my opinion a good idea to keep the primary & secondary run separately & mention it in the report. I guess I am wondering if this is over-kill on my part & would like some input.
    Thanks, JG

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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by John Goad View Post
    I see a lot of secondary condensate drains tied into the primary, even when there is a float switch in the pan, it is in my opinion a good idea to keep the primary & secondary run separately & mention it in the report. I guess I am wondering if this is over-kill on my part & would like some input.
    Thanks, JG
    John:

    I recommend drain line instalation in these instances as an inexpensive insurance policy for failed float switches. Redundant systems in order to protect property from water damage are not overkill, in my opinion.

    Aaron


  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary


  4. #4
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    If you have a primary and a drain pan then a secondary is not required if you have a water level detection device that shuts off the equipment.

    If it has a secondary disposal, it needs to discharge somewhere visible by the occupants so they know there is a problem. So a secondary will not go into the plumbing system. The primary is also not required to go into the plumbing system, therefore traps are not required if you are not tapping the primary into the DWV system.

    If however you have a fuel fired appliance that automatically shuts down operation in the event of stoppage in the condensate drainage system.

    You can recommend whatever you want for your own security blanket but what you recommend and what is required are two different things.

    There are a choice of 4 methods for auxillary and secondary drainage systems.


  5. #5
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    If you have a primary and a drain pan then a secondary is not required if you have a water level detection device that shuts off the equipment.

    If it has a secondary disposal, it needs to discharge somewhere visible by the occupants so they know there is a problem. So a secondary will not go into the plumbing system. The primary is also not required to go into the plumbing system, therefore traps are not required if you are not tapping the primary into the DWV system.

    If however you have a fuel fired appliance that automatically shuts down operation in the event of stoppage in the condensate drainage system.

    You can recommend whatever you want for your own security blanket but what you recommend and what is required are two different things.

    There are a choice of 4 methods for auxillary and secondary drainage systems.
    Jeff: The discussion was initially about recommendations and not requirements.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    I understand the requirements, I also understand that there can be system malfunctions that would put condesnate in the secondary pan & out the secondary drain without ever tripping the float switch, now you have condesate coming out of the primary because the secondary is tied into the primary & since it is, it does not alert the occupants of the problem. Then there is also the potential for the float switch failure.
    The reason for my posting is this, some times it seems like we are beating our heads against the wall, Aaron used the term "inexpensive insurance policy" which is the way that I try to explain it, but was getting to a point to where I was questioning myself as to whether I would continue to send it to the summary.

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  7. #7
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    You can recommend whatever you want for your own security blanket but what you recommend and what is required are two different things.

    There are a choice of 4 methods for auxillary and secondary drainage systems.
    Are you writing it up as a defect and making a recommendation or is this just an FYI for the buyer to protect your tushy?

    If you are writing it up as a defect, you are wrong.

    If you are making a recommendation then that is another story. You can recommend whatever you want.

    Sorry I included the requirements that you and everyone else were already aware of.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    In my city it is illegal (technically) to introduce condensate into the sewer system. I personally advise my clients that they want to see the end of the pipe and want to see the water draining in the summer. I see a bunch of backed up drains and keeping them visible and separate is just a simple safety tip. But it does generally go in the body of the report and not on the summary.
    JLMathis


  9. #9
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    I need to be educated about traps and condensate not going into a dwv. please show me where i can find that code requirement.


  10. #10

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Well,

    In Oregon (UPC' ish) I guess you can..... (807.2)

    http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/.../Chapter_8.pdf


  11. #11
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    I need to be educated about traps and condensate not going into a dwv. please show me where i can find that code requirement.
    Jeff: The is on proscription in the ICC regarding disposal of condensate in the DWV.

    The requirement:

    M1411.3 Condensate disposal.
    Condensate from all cooling
    coils or evaporators shall be conveyed from the drain pan outlet
    to an approved place of disposal. Condensate shall not discharge
    into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a
    nuisance.

    1. An auxiliary drain pan with a separate drain shall be
    installed under the coils on which condensation will
    occur. The auxiliary pan drain shall discharge to a conspicuous
    point of disposal to alert occupants in the event
    of a stoppage of the primary drain. The pan shall have a
    minimum depth of 1.5 inches (38 mm), shall not be less
    than 3 inches (76 mm) larger than the unit or the coil
    dimensions in width and length and shall be constructed
    of corrosion-resistant material. Metallic pans shall have
    a minimum thickness of not less than 0.0276-inch (0.7
    mm) galvanized sheet metal. Nonmetallic pans shall
    have a minimum thickness of not less than 0.0625 inch
    (1.6 mm).

    The problem, in my opinion lies in the two bolded red areas. They seem, at least where I live to be contradictory. Most builders here terminate the secondary condensate drain line in the soffit above a window. In my experience, from inspecting tens of thousands of houses and opening hundreds of thousands of windows, the majority of people do not open their windows much. Additionally, most windows have some sorts of interior window coverings that rarely if ever are opened. Due to the fine Texas summers, shade screens are usually installed on the south and west windows, making the view through them, even without window coverings, too obscured to see dripping condensate.

    The biggest problem though is that the condensate is dripping immediately adjacent to the foundation of the house. In an area that has both highly expansive clay soils and subterranean termites aplenty, adding lots of moisture in concentrated areas is problematic. One could even argue that it, in the wording of 1411.3, "creates a nuisance".

    So then, in the spirit of terminating a water heater TPR drain line at an air gap above the DWV, why is there something wrong with terminating condensate drain lines in a like fashion? After all, that's precisely where the primary lines are terminated - even though JP argues a fine case against it.

    Aaron



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Here in the moderately warm, humid area I call home, a Utility employee fairly high up the ladder told me that they don't need to treat any more effluent than they have to and that condensate from AC systems is mildly acidic to boot.
    Through the years I have only seen a few times when dumping to the exterior of the house caused a problem. Generally the liquid evaporates reasonably quickly.
    The theory used by most HVAC techs that dump the back-up drain through the soffit is that you will look out the window and see it and have the proverbial bell ring in your head that a problem is brewing. Of course, they almost inevitably fail to teach the home owner about that and I get the question: "Why is there a pipe sticking out of my roof?"

    JLMathis


  13. #13
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    I am talking about the trap requirement that JP had posted.

    I am aware of the code requirement if you read my original post but got an earful for posting requirements.

    Traps, traps, traps, that is what I want to know about.

    Why JP, why are they required? Educate me.

    Anyone can cut and paste code, just tell me where and I will read it myself.


  14. #14
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    I am talking about the trap requirement that JP had posted.

    I am aware of the code requirement if you read my original post but got an earful for posting requirements.

    Traps, traps, traps, that is what I want to know about.

    Why JP, why are they required? Educate me.

    Anyone can cut and paste code, just tell me where and I will read it myself.
    Jeff: When someone takes of their time to "cut and paste" (as you put it) in an effort to explain an issue that you have asked questions about, it is rather presumptuous and downright rude of you to take this sort of stance.

    My advice to you then is this: read the codes and figure it out for yourself, since you seem to know so much about the subject.

    Aaron


  15. #15
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Traps are not required for condensate drains that don't go into the DWV system. Someone here has posted that they required traps and I want to know where they found that information because I can't, probably because it does not exist.

    Maybe I am wrong so I am asking the claimant to show me so I can learn something or maybe he can.


  16. #16
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    Traps are not required for condensate drains that don't go into the DWV system. Someone here has posted that they required traps and I want to know where they found that information because I can't, probably because it does not exist.

    Maybe I am wrong so I am asking the claimant to show me so I can learn something or maybe he can.
    Look for a previous post that discussed this in great detail. If my memory serves me correctly, the requirement is a manufacturer's requirement and thus, a code requirement.


  17. #17
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    I can see it being a manufacturer's requirement so they can use the trap as a seal as to not let air to be drawn inside the unit when it is under negative pressure. Otherwise the condendate can be drawn back up into the unit and saturate the interior ducts in that area.

    I was ass-u-ming this was being touted as a specific code requirement, not a default code requirement due to it being required by a manufacturer.

    I like the see through traps with plugs on each end for cleaning.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    I can see it being a manufacturer's requirement so they can use the trap as a seal as to not let air to be drawn inside the unit when it is under negative pressure. Otherwise the condendate can be drawn back up into the unit and saturate the interior ducts in that area...
    I don't get this. If the air handler is capable of sucking condensate from a line with no trap, why can't it suck the condensate out of the trap?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  19. #19
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I don't get this. If the air handler is capable of sucking condensate from a line with no trap, why can't it suck the condensate out of the trap?
    It's in the fluid physics.


  20. #20
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    That is why the traps have specific size requirments, usually 3/4" or larger.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    therefore traps are not required if you are not tapping the primary into the DWV system.
    I see a big 'ole stickers on the cased coil that says "A condensate drain trap must be installed", and it makes no distinction where it discharges to.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    If you have a primary and a drain pan then a secondary is not required if you have a water level detection device that shuts off the equipment.
    Jeff,

    The secondary is still "required", however, it is allowed to drain to the auxiliary pan, provided it is properly trapped.

    The primary is also not required to go into the plumbing system, therefore traps are not required if you are not tapping the primary into the DWV system.
    Traps are required on both the primary and the secondary condensate drain lines. It has nothing to do with the codes other than the codes require the units to be installed per the manufacturers' installation requirements - which call for traps on both.

    (Okay, it does have to do with codes 'other than just being installed to manufactures' installation instructions, but let's understand the installation instructions first, once the simple stuff is understood, we can progress to the more complex stuff.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  23. #23
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Secondary drain systems (piping) is not required if the auxillary drain pan has a water detection switch that shuts down the equipment.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Examples of manufacture's (Lennox) installation instructions:

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    Secondary drain systems (piping) is not required if the auxillary drain pan has a water detection switch that shuts down the equipment.
    Jeff,

    Read the installation instructions - the secondary drain *IS REQUIRED*, and *IT IS REQUIRED* to be trapped.

    What you are missing is *WHERE* the secondary drain discharges to.

    With an auxiliary drain pan, the secondary condensate line discharges *into the auxiliary drain pan*, i.e., it is a heck of a lot shorter than it would be if not for the auxiliary drain pan, but it is still REQUIRED.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  26. #26
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    Here in the moderately warm, humid area I call home, a Utility employee fairly high up the ladder told me that they don't need to treat any more effluent than they have to and that condensate from AC systems is mildly acidic to boot.

    JLMathis

    Condensate from the exhaust gases of heating appliances is acidic; condensate formed from the dehumidification of the room air by the AC system is not.


  27. #27
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    Secondary drain systems (piping) is not required if the auxillary drain pan has a water detection switch that shuts down the equipment.
    Sorry Jeff

    That is one of the rules I happen to think is BULL


    Just say, let me think, oh yeah. Waht happens when the switch decides it does not want to work anymore ??????

    Not arguing with you just bull crap notes like that.

    Not all instalation advise or codes are worth much if anything. That leaves me in my set ways to say "what a bull**it piece of worthless, ignorant writing/advise/code etc. etc.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Here's a secondary drain for ya!

    -

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Erby,

    I see what may be a secondary condensate drain line with two outlets, one high and one low. The low outlet makes that secondary condensate drain line (if that is what it is) not trapped.

    The primary condensate drain line has a running trap, which is not only not allowed by does no good.

    Looks like one pan set down inside of another pan?

    Most certainly, though, that auxiliary drain pan is large enough.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  30. #30
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    M1411.3.1 Auxiliary and secondary drain systems. In
    addition to the requirements of Section M1411.3, a secondary
    drain or auxiliary drain pan shall be required for each
    cooling or evaporator coil where damage to any building
    components will occur as a result of overflow from the
    equipment drain pan or stoppage in the condensate drain
    piping.

    3. An auxiliary drain pan without a separate drain line
    shall be installed under the coils on which condensate
    will occur. This pan shall be equipped with a water
    level detection device conforming to UL 508 that will
    shut off the equipment served prior to overflow of the
    pan. The auxiliary drain pan shall be constructed in
    accordance with Item 1 of this section.

    M1411.3.1.1 Water level monitoring devices. On
    down-flow units and all other coils that have no secondary
    drain and no means to install an auxiliary drain pan, a
    water-level monitoring device shall be installed inside
    the primary drain pan.


  31. #31
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Upright units that have no secondary drain line and just a cut off switch that stops working????? Where does the water go?????? Oh yeah. Down thru the unit.

    The closet units that have the air return under the units and do not have a drain pan. Where does in go?? Onto the floor and then down thru the ceiling of the first floor. At least with a secondary drain line the only person that someone can blame when both lines get clogged up and the water drains thru their home is themselves for not maintaining their unit on a regular basis.

    A float switch in a pan I can see. A cut off switch in place of a secondary drain line is just foolish and should not be allowed.

    Just my humble opinion.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Jeff,

    You are trying to defend a position for which there is no defense.

    (I've changed the highlighting)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    M1411.3.1 Auxiliary and secondary drain systems. In addition to the requirements of Section M1411.3, a secondary drain or auxiliary drain pan shall be required for each cooling or evaporator coil where damage to any building components will occur as a result of overflow from the equipment drain pan or stoppage in the condensate drain piping.

    M1411.3 Condensate disposal. Condensate from all cooling coils or evaporators shall be conveyed from the drain pan outlet to an approved place of disposal. Condensate shall not discharge into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a nuisance.


    There are TWO "drain pan outlets", one for the primary and one for the secondary, BOTH must drain to an approved place of disposal. For the secondary condensate drain line, that approved place of disposal is (can be) the auxiliary drain pan.

    Now, from the auxiliary drain pan, yeah, THAT does not "require" a drain line, THAT can have the water sensing switch.

    You are also forgetting the most important section:
    - SECTION M1307
    - - APPLIANCE INSTALLATION
    - - - M1307.1 General. Installation of appliances shall conform to the conditions of their listing and label and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The manufacturer’s operating and installation instructions shall remain attached to the appliance.




    The manufacturer's installation instructions shows the secondary condensate drain line, WITH ITS TRAP, is required.

    The thing you are missing is this should be a discussion about *where* that secondary condensate drain line discharges, not whether it is required or not - because it is required, both by the code and by the manufacturer.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  33. #33
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    There are units that are manufactured that have an internal switch that shut down the units when there is a condensate backup. They are allowed by code to be used in place of any auxillary system.

    The pan referred to in the codes is the pan that is part of the unit design and not the auxillary pan that would be installed when necessary.

    It is possible to have a unit installation with no secondary drain and no auxillary drain pan when there is an internal switch that shuts down the equipment upon backup and be both code complaint and IAW MII.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    There are units that are manufactured that have an internal switch that shut down the units when there is a condensate backup. They are allowed by code to be used in place of any auxillary system.

    The pan referred to in the codes is the pan that is part of the unit design and not the auxillary pan that would be installed when necessary.

    It is possible to have a unit installation with no secondary drain and no auxillary drain pan when there is an internal switch that shuts down the equipment upon backup and be both code complaint and IAW MII.

    Jeff,

    You are really reaching trying to defend your position.

    Re-read the posts and the posted installation instruction sections.

    THOSE are the things we are all talking about.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  35. #35
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Good thing you are self employed and have no one to answer to. Who is Capri Engineering LLC anyway?


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    Jeff,

    You really are off the deep end, aren't you?

    (sigh)

    And I thought we were going to have some good contributions from him.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  37. #37

    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    For those of you that would or do mention a 2ndary tied into the primary with a float switch in the pan, do you send it to the summary or bury it in the body? Thanks

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Secondary Into Primary

    John,

    If it was not correct, it went into my report and the summary. There was no 'This goes in the summary and this does not.' thing to worry about, you may leave something you think is unimportant out of the summary but your client thinks it is important and should have been in the summary.

    If it is important enough to write up, it is important enough to go in the summary.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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