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  1. #1
    Paul Hadel's Avatar
    Paul Hadel Guest

    Default Must have or Nice to have

    Does a system that is functioning as designed need to be changed to meet a buyer's request? Example: The home inspector noted that the installed condensate pump for the heat exchanger in the attic is sitting on top of the attic insulation and could cause water on the ceiling if it leaked or overflowed.
    I don't disagree with any of that. Not the best design in the world but functioning as designed. The inspector recommended a drain line be tapped into the main drain pan under the HX and pipe it outside.
    As a home seller, would you change the drain design? I have not had any problem with it in 4 years.

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  2. #2
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    It's always better to be proactive as apposed to reactive. Plus, it will eventually leak when the condensate pump fails. Everything has a life expectancy, and I see those pumps fail on a regular basis. So yes I would add a drain pan.


  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    Paul

    "Not the best design in the world but functioning as designed."
    The insulation and ceiling were not designed for that.

    "The inspector recommended a drain line be tapped into the main drain pan under the HX and pipe it outside.As a home seller, would you change the drain design? "
    Yes

    "I have not had any problem with it in 4 years."

    You have been lucky. Sometimes you may not have a problem for many years. But when you do, the ceiling can fall in.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hadel View Post
    Does a system that is functioning as designed need to be changed to meet a buyer's request?
    Paul,

    First, one must define "functioning as designed".

    To that extent:
    Example: The home inspector noted that the installed condensate pump for the heat exchanger in the attic is sitting on top of the attic insulation
    The condensate pump "is not designed" to be "sitting on top of the attic insulation".

    My question then becomes this:
    - Condensate pumps are used to pump condensate up and away when the condensate producing appliance is located where gravity will not drain the condensate away, but with the appliance in the attic ... why is the condensate pump even installed, and why is the condensate line not gravity draining to its discharge?

    Coils which condensate can collect on are required to have a pan under them to collect any overflowing condensate.

    The same logic should be applied to a pump which is used to collect that condensate - it should be in a pan which is either drain or have a shut off switch which shuts the system down when water begins to collect in the pan under the condensate pump. Then, of course, one much recognize that the condensate pump is not intended to be submerged in water, or even partially submerged in water, which means the condensate pump would need to be on a stand high enough to keep the bottom of the condensate pump above the over level of the pan - i.e., up out of the water.

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

  5. #5
    Paul Hadel's Avatar
    Paul Hadel Guest

    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    Jerry, thanks for your response.
    The system was an unusual design from the start.
    It was built with the heat exchanger sitting on concrete blocks about 4 inches high with a drain pan under it, all normal so far. The drain pan has a float switch but the HX drains are piped to the condensate pump which sits 8 inches below the drain pan and on the insulation. It looks like the simple fix would be to trash the pump and pipe the HX drains to the drain pan, install a gravity drain pipe to the soffet area and reply to the buyer "all fixed". None of this was an issue when I bought the house 4 years ago but I probably should have fixed it then.
    What do you think?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    The "normal" is to have the HX Drain piped directly to the outside AWAY FROM THE FOUNDATION. Then either a drain from the OVERFLOW pan to a visible location or a kill switch.

    The overflow drain pan is there as a back up should the primary drain line clog up. The overflow drain pan SHOULD NOT be part of the primary drainage system.

    I'd get me some PVC pipe and pipe the HX drain, properly trapped (not the preformed running traps), directly to the outside of the home bypassing the SECONDARY drain pan.

    It's a "must have" and has been for a long time. It probably wasn't an issue when you bought the place because your inspector, if you had one, didn't point it out to you. He should have. Drainage requirements for units located above finished spaces have been around for a long time. Primary drain from the unit and a secondary means of protection, aka overflow drain pan or float switch.

    Would it have been an issue for you if, one year ago, the condensate pump failed and dumped all that water through the ceiling??


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    Last edited by Erby Crofutt; 10-14-2009 at 04:42 PM.
    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hadel View Post
    It looks like the simple fix would be to trash the pump and pipe the HX drains to the drain pan, install a gravity drain pipe to the soffet area
    Quote Originally Posted by Erby Crofutt View Post
    The "normal" is to have the HX Drain piped directly to the outside AWAY FROM THE FOUNDATION. Then either a drain from the OVERFLOW pan to a visible location or a kill switch.

    The overflow drain pan is there as a back up should the primary drain line clog up. The overflow drain pan SHOULD NOT be part of the primary drainage system.

    I'd get me some PVC pipe and pipe the HX drain, properly trapped (not the preformed running traps), directly to the outside of the home bypassing the SECONDARY drain pan.
    Paul,

    Erby covered it pretty good.

    Don't drain to the auxiliary pan, drain the the outside, then drain the auxiliary pan separately.

    Instead of just a shut off switch in the auxiliary pan, I prefer to have both a drain installed in the auxiliary pan AND a shut off switch ... in case that drain become clogged before the unit is serviced.

    You may be asking what is a "running trap"? A "running trap" is one in which the inlet to the trap and the outlet from the trap are at the same height, in line with each other.

    A "proper trap" has the inlet higher, about 2" or so higher, than the outlet, and has at least a 2" deep trap seal of water (measure bottom of pipe of trap to bottom of outlet pipe - should be at least 2").

    There are two types of "proper traps": 1) site made using 3/4" elbows; 2) manufactured molded (shaped) 'P' traps. I prefer the manufacturer shaped 'P' traps as they are a freer flowing trap without the sharp corners in the site built 90 degree elbow traps which collect crud and clog up quicker.

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

  8. #8
    Paul Hadel's Avatar
    Paul Hadel Guest

    Default Re: Must have or Nice to have

    Thanks, Guys,
    I really appreciate your help.
    I will do the recommended fix and make it right.
    I now know where to come for the right answers.

    Paul


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