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  1. #1
    Brad Borden's Avatar
    Brad Borden Guest

    Default Condensation drain pan code

    I inspected a house with an upstairs heat pump. The condensation drain pan has an attached exterior drain pipe but, it has no electric float shut off switch. I reported this as such and recommended one to be installed in-case the drain was to get clogged. We are is S.C. and our drains in this area tend to grow algae and clog frequently. The builder will not install one because he says as long as he has installed a discharge drain he has met code. If there is a written code that says other it would be appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Borden View Post
    The condensation drain pan has an attached exterior drain pipe but, it has no electric float shut off switch.
    Either / or is all that code, which is "minimum", requires.

    I reported this as such and recommended one to be installed in-case the drain was to get clogged. We are is S.C. and our drains in this area tend to grow algae and clog frequently. The builder will not install one because he says as long as he has installed a discharge drain he has met code.
    Stick by your guns and tell your client that *THEY NEED* a switch and a drain, regardless of whether or not the code only requires one or the other, remind them that code is a "minimum" standard, not a "common sense" standard and everyone knows that condensate pans back up and overflow when condensate lines clog, thus *THEY NEED* the switch, even if it is up to them to install it, and mention that it does not cost much, that it costs a *lot less than* cleaning up and repairs from just the first overflow.

    It is then in your client's ballpark as to whether or not they want more than the required "minimum" protection.

    What is that unit setting on, plastic/foam? That's not good.

    What's that black wire (or whatever it is) going down under the unit? Don't want it laying in a pan *intended* to have water in it.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Succasunna NJ
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    574

    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    There is a main drain line and then there's an auxiliary drain pan. The main drain line should dispose the condensation separately of the auxiliary pan.

    The only time water should get into the auxiliary pan is if there's a problem. The auxiliary pan should 'discharge to a conspicuous point of disposal to alert occupants in the event of stoppage of the primary drain'.

    So, if everything is installed correctly, very little water should EVER enter the auxiliary pan; and when it does the problem should be resolved quickly. If little to no water is entering the pan, why spend additional monies to install a float switch?

    If your areas drain clog frequently, then cleaning them should be considered normal maintenance.
    After all; if a float was installed instead of the drain, they would have to clean the clog anyway after the float shut the unit down right?

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    No water should "EVER" be in the auxiliary drain pan, however ... the drain pan is required, is made water tight, has an option to either be drained or to have a float (or other water sensing) shut off switch in it, which means it is "intended" to have water in it. Which means you should not have any wires hanging down in the drain pan.

    The auxiliary drain pan *is not required to* " 'discharge to a conspicuous point of disposal to alert occupants in the event of stoppage of the primary drain' ". That drain line is but one "option" available in the code.

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

  5. #5
    Brad Borden's Avatar
    Brad Borden Guest

    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    Jerry, I called the wire to there were multiple HVAC issues with this brand new house and I have PO'D the HVAC company off. There were un-connected ducts, thermostat wires thru brick walls with no protection,drain line going uphill, etc....
    There is a condensate drain hooked directly to the unit and is drained to the outside. The problem we see allot is that no one goes into there attic to check their unit. A switch would just make sense to have in-case of a potential problem.
    I guess the builder has met the minimum with the direct condensate drain and the drip pan does not have to have a float switch.
    I am trying to give the home owner some ammunition.


  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Borden View Post
    I guess the builder has met the minimum with the direct condensate drain and the drip pan does not have to have a float switch.

    Yes and no ...

    Ask your clients if the builder told them he was building a "minimum house" or a "custom home" / "quality home" / "luxury home" / etc.

    If the builder advertised it as a 'we build junk' (builders say "we build to code") then 'meeting code' is all the builder advertised he would do.

    However, if they advertised the home as ' "custom home" / "quality home" / "luxury home" / etc.', the builder is saying he does better than "minimum" code. A little badgering from the clients showing the brochures the builder gave them usually gets the builder to install what they promised (sometimes a little push from the clients like 'I'll have to call the state attorney general, that sure sounds like false advertising, sounds like bait and switch to me' usually finishes the trick off so the builder becomes responsive).

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

  7. #7
    Craig Ervin's Avatar
    Craig Ervin Guest

    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Edit...
    The auxiliary drain pan *is not required to* " 'discharge to a conspicuous point of disposal to alert occupants in the event of stoppage of the primary drain' ". That drain line is but one "option" available in the code.

    Out here the attic drain pan must discharge to " a conspicuous space". But that does not mean the Home owner or renter will know that the primary drain is plugged. So having a switch will for sure create a service call for no A/C


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    A pan with a drain line on it and then a float switch as well is for idiot home owners that never have their system serviced until there is either a break down, leak all over the place or they are going to sell the home.

    I say we all just report for a pan and drain with a drain line to the exterior and thats all any home owner should get. When it finaly leaks in their house and now they have a big repair and mold removal then maybe, just maybe they will stop going thru life in twilight world and get a clue that they have to maintain their home. I cannot even begin the tell you the very high percentage of homes that I inspect including Daddy War Bucks homes where there has never been maintenance on the HVAC system and do you think they ever change the filters more than twice a year.


  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Condensation drain pan code

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ervin View Post
    Out here the attic drain pan must discharge to " a conspicuous space". But that does not mean the Home owner or renter will know that the primary drain is plugged. So having a switch will for sure create a service call for no A/C

    Like I just said. Hell wuth em if they cannot do a simple thing like schedule a maintenance on the HVAC once a year. They will find out why they need to do it.

    Another thing I hate is when someone that is perfectly fit and healthy has AAA and they get a flat and waite three hours to get it changed instead of doing it themselves.

    As in my X son inlaw


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