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  1. #1
    Consuelo Smith's Avatar
    Consuelo Smith Guest

    Default Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    I purchased a newly contstructed home last November, but I just recently noticed the condesate pipe protruding from the roof within inches of my front door. I never even noticed the pipe recently when I noticed water coming from it and spraying down on anyone that exited/entered my front door. The pipe also drains within inches of the lighting fixture (an electrical hazard) and is causing water damage to the concrete on my porch.

    I had the house inspected when I moved it and the inspector never mentioned the location of this pipe. And with this being my first home I really didn't know what to look outside of things mentioned online and in books I read.

    I did call my builder when I first noticed the water and he came to look at it while I was at work and my daughter was home. My daughter said that he went in the attic then returned saying something was leaning against the air conditioner and that everything should be fine now. I had no clue what one had to do with the other or what the pipe was period, so I accepted that as the problem. It started leaking again while a friend and her husband were over and he's the one that told me what the pipe was and why the water was leaking. We were all dumbfounded as to why the builder would put the pipe in this location. My friend's husband then walked around the house and found another pipe protruding from the wall in the backyard, which seemed more logical.

    My friend's husband told me to contact the inspector and ask why he didn't annotate this as a potential problem then ask my builder to move the pipe.

    Just in cash I get some push back, I'm wondering who do I hold liable in this case, the inspector or the builder?

    Thanks for our help.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    That pipe is there to let you know there is a problem with your a/c unit in the attic.

    When the primary condensate backs up, or the unit overflows for any other reason, there is an auxiliary drain pan under the unit to catch that overflow, and that drain line is draining to where you will see it and call the a/c contractor.

    Sounds like no one explained that to you, neither the builder nor your inspector.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
    Consuelo Smith's Avatar
    Consuelo Smith Guest

    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Thank you so much Jerry for the quick and informative reply. That makes a lot of sense. So basically, as long as no water is coming from this pipe then everything is okay. But once water comes out, then something is wrong, right? If so, is there something specific I should be asking the buildet to check?

    Like previously mentioned, initially he said the water was leaking as a result of something leaning against the unit and that he moved whatever it was, but it's still leaking. This makes me question what's really going on. Especially considering no one has been in that attic since we moved here to cause something to shift and lean against the unit.


  4. #4
    Mike Inspector's Avatar
    Mike Inspector Guest

    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Quote Originally Posted by Consuelo Smith View Post
    Thank you so much Jerry for the quick and informative reply. That makes a lot of sense. So basically, as long as no water is coming from this pipe then everything is okay. But once water comes out, then something is wrong, right? If so, is there something specific I should be asking the buildet to check?

    Like previously mentioned, initially he said the water was leaking as a result of something leaning against the unit and that he moved whatever it was, but it's still leaking. This makes me question what's really going on. Especially considering no one has been in that attic since we moved here to cause something to shift and lean against the unit.

    Soundsl ike it is a secondary condensate drain line. They are suppposed to drain to a "nuisance or conspicuous" area. Usually over windows or doors. They leak when the primary line is blocked. The primary usually ties into a bathroom sink tailpipe.

    Something in the primary line is blocked if the one above your door is leaking. Call the builder and have them fix it.

    Mike


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    These things clog up all the time since algae and other "stuff" grows in the condensate water and is part of normal home maintenance. It may be that nothing is "wrong" that needs to be repaired. This is a job for the air conditioning repair person. Maybe your builder will clean or repair this for you but maybe not. Welcome to the world of home ownership.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Inspector View Post
    Soundsl ike it is a secondary condensate drain line. They are suppposed to drain to a "nuisance or conspicuous" area. Usually over windows or doors. They leak when the primary line is blocked. The primary usually ties into a bathroom sink tailpipe.
    In this area of the country the primary always goes to the exterior, usually at the foundation near the exterior unit. Never seen one go to a tailpipe.

    Granted emptying condensate on the foundation does not make much sense but that is the common method locally. Always ask to have it extended away from the foundation.

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  7. #7
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    A number of things may be going wrong that are causing condensate to be relieved from the secondary line. There is nothing wrong with the discharge location for the secondary over the door, but the fact that moisture is coming out of it does indicate problems. Since this is a "new" dwelling" you should be well within your warr. period with the Builder. He is responsible for corrections. It will be his duty to have his sub-contractor (HVAC contractor) back out to determine what is going on. Certainly your Inspector should have, at the minimum, reported on the locations, configurations and terminations for both primary and secondary lines, but knowing if they were functioning correctly can be problematic depending on conditions at the time of the inspection, outside temperatures, length of time he operated the unit, etc. If the configuration is wrong (improper slope in primary line, lack of trap and vent, plug not removed, capped vent, insulation or other debris in evaporator compartment or pan having moved into and blocked line, etc.) your Inspector should have noted that in his Report. A buildup of growth in the primary is unlikely within such a short period of time, although it is possible.

    At this point, take lots of pictures, document every contact with the Builder along with dates and phone conversations, visits, etc. Call him again and have him correct it until it is indeed corrected. You may need to go into the attic to take pictures (very much advised) so that you can see what may or maynot have been changed, and just in case the condition continues.

    Since this is a problem during the first year of operation it may be an ongoing concern and should be reviewed every year when you have routine maintenance performed. Bring it to the attention of each company you use in the future.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Below is pictures at a home I inspected a few weeks ago. One of the 5 secondary drain lines terminated at the garage ceiling over wooden steps entering the home.

    As you can see when the water started to drain from the system it created an already hazardous stairway condition.

    I documented it as a poor location for the condensate drain and of course the stairs.

    rick

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Quote Originally Posted by Consuelo Smith View Post
    Thank you so much Jerry for the quick and informative reply. That makes a lot of sense. So basically, as long as no water is coming from this pipe then everything is okay. But once water comes out, then something is wrong, right?
    Correct.

    If so, is there something specific I should be asking the buildet to check?
    I would ask for a more detailed report as to "why" that was dripping water as that auxiliary drain pan should not have had any water in it during this short time.

    (bold and underlining are mine)
    Like previously mentioned, initially he said the water was leaking as a result of something leaning against the unit and that he moved whatever it was, but it's still leaking. This makes me question what's really going on. Especially considering no one has been in that attic since we moved here to cause something to shift and lean against the unit.
    Yep.

    Also, I would ask the builder to relocate the pipe to one side so you will still see the water draining out but you will not have it drip directly on you when entering the house. The requirement is that it drain to a "conspicuous location", not that it drain on someone entering the house - but, you must admit ... you *did* notice it and you *did* call the builder ... and that was why it was there.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    The comment that the builder made about "something" leaning against the unit causing this problem is highly suspect to me.

    What did he find?

    Did he mention that the primary drain line was obstructed? Did he blow out the line by chance?

    As far as the other line you mention coming from the wall, I'd bet that is the T&P drain line from the water heater which has nothing to do with the HVAC system.

    I'd recommend calling a reputable HVAC contractor in your area and have them go though the system completely before your 1yr. warranty is up with the builder. (if you have one)

    Best of Luck,

    rick


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    The comment that the builder made about "something" leaning against the unit causing this problem is highly suspect to me.

    What did he find?

    A broken truss, but he nailed it back into place with his trim nailer.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Condensate drain pipe above front door???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A broken truss, but he nailed it back into place with his trim nailer.
    A broken truss huh? Only one thing could do such a thing on such a new home.

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