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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Condensate trap.

    What the heck am I dealing with here. Please read the following emails from bottom to top and let me know if I am the crazy one!pic 2.JPGPic 1.JPG



    The code requires a minimum 2" deep and maximum 4" deep trap to prevent this. The trap in the second pic is not even close to 2" deep. Even if the static pressure was to push water out of the trap there would be no effective difference as opposed to installing a manufactured opening to disable the trap. All mfg installation instructions require proper duct sizing to achieve the desired static pressures. I have looked at many of the mfg's installation instructions and none I have found suggest installing a vent on the up stream side. The practice of venting up stream of a trap makes the trap worthless and there would be no point in wasting the fittings.


    I understand that your position is the interpretation and enforcement of the code side of this issue, not the mfg's installation instructions. My question is, does code prohibit the capping of either of the vents/clean outs pictured in the original email? Does any code require a vent on the up stream side of a vent?



    Thank you,
    Vern A. Heiler
    Precision Inspections
    704-849-9747 - Office
    704-847-6273 - Fax
    www.1inspection.com



    From: "Spidel, Bill" <Bill.Spidel@mecklenburgcountync.gov>
    Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 9:50 AM
    To: contactus@1inspection.com
    Subject: RE: Condensate plumbing

    From what I understand from some of the contractors, they were having a problem with the high static on positive pressure units pushing the water out of the trap. This was the fix from the manufacturer, and we approved it.

    From: Precision Inspections [mailto:contactus@1inspection.com]
    Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 8:44 AM
    To: Spidel, Bill
    Subject: RE: Condensate plumbing




    In the first pic the primary drain line has a T' installed up stream of the trap which has a moisture detection device installed in it.



    In the second pic the primary drain line has a T' installed as a trap clean out. The cap has a 1/2" hole drilled in it.



    I do understand that a trap is not as necessary in a positive pressure system as it is in negative pressure (heat-pump) system. The problem is that it is required by code and mfg. installation instructions and as so should function as intended. Any opening between the primary drain pan connection and the trap defeats the purpose of the trap by allowing air to freely communicate with ambient air.

    Please look again at the two pics.


    Thank you,
    Vern A. Heiler
    Precision Inspections
    704-849-9747 - Office
    704-847-6273 - Fax
    www.1inspection.com



    From: "Spidel, Bill" <Bill.Spidel@mecklenburgcountync.gov>
    Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 7:56 AM
    To: contactus@1inspection.com
    Subject: RE: Condensate plumbing
    Good morning; the trapped pictures I see here are as prescribed by code. The only thing I see an open pipe on is the secondary drain. One shows a electric shutdown switch that appears to be piped somewhere with no trap; secondary's usually require no traps, they are for emergency purposes only. We require the contractor to install them as per NCMC section 307, and the Manufacturer's installation instructions.

    From: Precision Inspections [mailto:contactus@1inspection.com]
    Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 1:40 PM
    To: Spidel, Bill
    Subject: Condensate plumbing





    Dear Mr. Spidel,



    I am the owner and licensed home inspector of Precisions Inspections. Over the last 9 years I have found and reported the absence of a cap on the trap clean out many times. I have a background in HVAC and have also researched the subject of condensate plumbing to insure I was reporting the condition correctly. In the past several weeks I have met with staunch resistance to installing a cap by two different HVAC techs. One tech, with MTB, said I should contact you for the correct installation of the condensate drain.


    I have attached two pic's of condensate plumbing with venting on the upstream side of the traps. Both HVAC techs insisted that the vent/trap clean out could not be capped due to code. One said he had to put a cap on and then drill a hole in it, this was done to prevent "vapor lock"? Both insisted the vent was required on the upstream side of the trap. Both mentioned that they had just been through a class that addressed this condition. In my training and use of basic logic: #1 vents are on the downstream side of a trap. #2 an open trap clean out disables the trap and I have to report it as "not functioning as intended".



    Have plumbing fundamentals changed, preventing air from escaping or entering the open hole up stream of a trap? Is there some incorrect continuing education being taught to HVAC techs?



    Please respond to this as the refusal to cap the clean out is causing my customers to lose faith in my reports.



    Thank you,
    Vern A. Heiler
    Precision Inspections
    704-849-9747 - Office
    704-847-6273 - Fax
    www.1inspection.com

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    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Condensate trap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    What the heck am I dealing with here. Please read the following emails from bottom to top and let me know if I am the crazy one!pic 2.JPGPic 1.JPG



    The code requires a minimum 2" deep and maximum 4" deep trap to prevent this. The trap in the second pic is not even close to 2" deep. Even if the static pressure was to push water out of the trap there would be no effective difference as opposed to installing a manufactured opening to disable the trap. All mfg installation instructions require proper duct sizing to achieve the desired static pressures. I have looked at many of the mfg's installation instructions and none I have found suggest installing a vent on the up stream side. The practice of venting up stream of a trap makes the trap worthless and there would be no point in wasting the fittings.


    I understand that your position is the interpretation and enforcement of the code side of this issue, not the mfg's installation instructions. My question is, does code prohibit the capping of either of the vents/clean outs pictured in the original email? Does any code require a vent on the up stream side of a vent?



    Thank you,
    Vern A. Heiler
    Precision Inspections
    704-849-9747 - Office
    704-847-6273 - Fax
    www.1inspection.com



    From: "Spidel, Bill" <Bill.Spidel@mecklenburgcountync.gov>
    Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 9:50 AM
    To: contactus@1inspection.com
    Subject: RE: Condensate plumbing

    From what I understand from some of the contractors, they were having a problem with the high static on positive pressure units pushing the water out of the trap. This was the fix from the manufacturer, and we approved it.

    From: Precision Inspections [mailto:contactus@1inspection.com]
    Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 8:44 AM
    To: Spidel, Bill
    Subject: RE: Condensate plumbing




    In the first pic the primary drain line has a T' installed up stream of the trap which has a moisture detection device installed in it.



    In the second pic the primary drain line has a T' installed as a trap clean out. The cap has a 1/2" hole drilled in it.



    I do understand that a trap is not as necessary in a positive pressure system as it is in negative pressure (heat-pump) system. The problem is that it is required by code and mfg. installation instructions and as so should function as intended. Any opening between the primary drain pan connection and the trap defeats the purpose of the trap by allowing air to freely communicate with ambient air.

    Please look again at the two pics.


    Thank you,
    Vern A. Heiler
    Precision Inspections
    704-849-9747 - Office
    704-847-6273 - Fax
    www.1inspection.com



    From: "Spidel, Bill" <Bill.Spidel@mecklenburgcountync.gov>
    Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 7:56 AM
    To: contactus@1inspection.com
    Subject: RE: Condensate plumbing
    Good morning; the trapped pictures I see here are as prescribed by code. The only thing I see an open pipe on is the secondary drain. One shows a electric shutdown switch that appears to be piped somewhere with no trap; secondary's usually require no traps, they are for emergency purposes only. We require the contractor to install them as per NCMC section 307, and the Manufacturer's installation instructions.

    From: Precision Inspections [mailto:contactus@1inspection.com]
    Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 1:40 PM
    To: Spidel, Bill
    Subject: Condensate plumbing





    Dear Mr. Spidel,



    I am the owner and licensed home inspector of Precisions Inspections. Over the last 9 years I have found and reported the absence of a cap on the trap clean out many times. I have a background in HVAC and have also researched the subject of condensate plumbing to insure I was reporting the condition correctly. In the past several weeks I have met with staunch resistance to installing a cap by two different HVAC techs. One tech, with MTB, said I should contact you for the correct installation of the condensate drain.


    I have attached two pic's of condensate plumbing with venting on the upstream side of the traps. Both HVAC techs insisted that the vent/trap clean out could not be capped due to code. One said he had to put a cap on and then drill a hole in it, this was done to prevent "vapor lock"? Both insisted the vent was required on the upstream side of the trap. Both mentioned that they had just been through a class that addressed this condition. In my training and use of basic logic: #1 vents are on the downstream side of a trap. #2 an open trap clean out disables the trap and I have to report it as "not functioning as intended".



    Have plumbing fundamentals changed, preventing air from escaping or entering the open hole up stream of a trap? Is there some incorrect continuing education being taught to HVAC techs?



    Please respond to this as the refusal to cap the clean out is causing my customers to lose faith in my reports.



    Thank you,
    Vern A. Heiler
    Precision Inspections
    704-849-9747 - Office
    704-847-6273 - Fax
    www.1inspection.com

    My understanding is that a trap is not needed if the evaporator is downstream from the blower. The trap is needed when the evaporator is upstream from the blower since the negative pressure developed can prevent condensate from draining. So I don't think the trap size or vent are an issue hear if that coil is above a furnace.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Condensate trap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    My understanding is that a trap is not needed if the evaporator is downstream from the blower. The trap is needed when the evaporator is upstream from the blower since the negative pressure developed can prevent condensate from draining. So I don't think the trap size or vent are an issue hear if that coil is above a furnace.
    Mark your logic is sound, however, a trap is required by both the mfg's installation instructions and code.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Condensate trap.

    Welcome to my world, 95% of units here are incorrect. I've heard many arguments, the most entertaining is that installing traps per the manufacturer's instructions will void the warranty.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Condensate trap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Welcome to my world, 95% of units here are incorrect. I've heard many arguments, the most entertaining is that installing traps per the manufacturer's instructions will void the warranty.
    How do you like the idea of disabling the trap to hide the symptom of incorrect duct sizing, devised by the Mfg and approved by the AHJ?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Condensate trap.

    I would want to see both in writing and I would still tell them it is wrong.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Condensate trap.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...,d.dmQ&cad=rja

    Here is a pretty good discussion if the installer and AHJ will take the time to read.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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