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  1. #1
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    Default Air Condition issue - Video included





    My air-conditioning is making a gurgling sound & now is leaking about 10 minutes after being turned on. Its located in the garage (in a home in FL). What can be the problem with this?
    Thank you!

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Condensate line clogged.


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Condensate line clogged.
    A guy was over to put freon in and said he flushed something from the outside and there were a lot of leaves. Could that have done it? How do i fix this? Is it okay to run the AC with this issue?


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    If you have a wet dry vacuum, try to suck all the gunk out the outside end.

    Also looks and sounds like there may be gunk buildup in the condensate pan inside the unit ... it drains for awhile then the gunk clogs the opening from the condensate pan into the condensate drain.

    Probably also not properly trapped, but 'if it has been working okay' then remove the cover (after turning the unit off) and look at the condensate pan inside the unit.

    Sometimes you can use compressed air (if you have an air compressor handy) to blow all the gunk out of the condensate drain line, sometimes you can even do that with a garden hose (but be aware that you will get even more water in your garage ... and likely in your unit and its return, to that is not a good idea unless you know what you are doing - air is safer as it just 'blows out into the air').

    While you have the cover off the unit, look at the coil - if it is dirty and gunky, not much air is going through it ... in which case you need to call A DIFFERENT a/c person as that one apparently does not know what to look for.

    You only need Freon (refrigerant) IF IT IS LEAKING ... which means that you should have that checked too. 'Putting in Freon' and walking away indicates that you need to call A DIFFERENT a/c person ...

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If you have a wet dry vacuum, try to suck all the gunk out the outside end.

    Also looks and sounds like there may be gunk buildup in the condensate pan inside the unit ... it drains for awhile then the gunk clogs the opening from the condensate pan into the condensate drain.

    Probably also not properly trapped, but 'if it has been working okay' then remove the cover (after turning the unit off) and look at the condensate pan inside the unit.

    Sometimes you can use compressed air (if you have an air compressor handy) to blow all the gunk out of the condensate drain line, sometimes you can even do that with a garden hose (but be aware that you will get even more water in your garage ... and likely in your unit and its return, to that is not a good idea unless you know what you are doing - air is safer as it just 'blows out into the air').

    While you have the cover off the unit, look at the coil - if it is dirty and gunky, not much air is going through it ... in which case you need to call A DIFFERENT a/c person as that one apparently does not know what to look for.

    You only need Freon (refrigerant) IF IT IS LEAKING ... which means that you should have that checked too. 'Putting in Freon' and walking away indicates that you need to call A DIFFERENT a/c person ...

    Thanks so much for the answer. This sounds too complicated for someone who knows nothing about this. How much would it cost for a competent air conditiioning person to do this?
    Is it okay to run this while its leaking (for a few days)?


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    What it costs depends on where you are as some areas have higher prices than other areas ... but ... a service call is probably in the $75-150 range as a guess, and then depends on what they find.

    It's probably worth calling someone now, responses may be tonight, tomorrow, or next week.

    Your location simply says "Florida" ... Florida is probably an 18-20+ hour drive end to end ... so 'where in Florida' makes a big difference.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What it costs depends on where you are as some areas have higher prices than other areas ... but ... a service call is probably in the $75-150 range as a guess, and then depends on what they find.

    It's probably worth calling someone now, responses may be tonight, tomorrow, or next week.

    Your location simply says "Florida" ... Florida is probably an 18-20+ hour drive end to end ... so 'where in Florida' makes a big difference.

    We are in Lake Mary. Do you think a handyman should be able to handle this? I have one coming Monday.


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by John Marino View Post
    We are in Lake Mary. Do you think a handyman should be able to handle this? I have one coming Monday.
    No ... absolutely no ... no handyman.

    There is an a/c contractor I use - they just replaced our a/c system, units and completely new ductwork too - and they may service Lake Mary (if not, they may have a recommendation of someone who does): Air Conditioning & Heater Repair - Jerry Brittingham A/C & Heat, Inc.

    I've known Jerry (that a/c guy Jerry) for maybe 8 years or so. The lead person who was in charge of replacing our system was Billy. They do emergency service calls, but maybe not to Lake Mary.

    If he doesn't do you good ... don't come back and complain to me ... ... but if he does you good ... you can thank me ... ...

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by John Marino View Post
    We are in Lake Mary. Do you think a handyman should be able to handle this? I have one coming Monday.
    That water leak is a huge issue, you can't wait till Monday, not with our high heat and humidity. Clean your drain line now before the platform in the garage (and the interior room behind it) is a big moldy mess.

    The clean-out port on the drain line is right there in your video. There are plenty of online videos that show how to clean the line, check the end of the line outside (next to your condensing unit) and check for obstructions.

    Why was someone there? To repair some thing? That looks like a 20 year old Trane A/C, not much life left, if any, so plan accordingly. Call that service company back and tell them to check their work.

    There are plenty of trustworthy HVAC techs in Seminole County (I'm nearby...) so ask your neighbors for a referral or use a 3rd party web site to see real reviews for potential companies.

    Dom.

    PS
    Watch out for "tune-up specials" which are typically used to upsell more expensive services, needed or not.

    July and August are prime times for A/C repair, so you may not get someone as fast as you'd like.


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    The condensate drain also needs a trap in it.
    All manufacturers require a trap.


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by William McElheny View Post
    The condensate drain also needs a trap in it.
    All manufacturers require a trap.
    BOOM! I suspect this is the gurgling problem. The negative pressure in the air handler is not allowing the water to drain so it collects in the pan and is pulling air from inside of the drain line. A trap that is sized for the approximate static pressure rating of the fan plus one inch would correct that problem. I'm guessing that you don't know the pressure of the fan so make the trap 3" deep.

    trap.jpg

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Butler View Post
    BOOM! I suspect this is the gurgling problem. The negative pressure in the air handler is not allowing the water to drain so it collects in the pan and is pulling air from inside of the drain line. A trap that is sized for the approximate static pressure rating of the fan plus one inch would correct that problem. I'm guessing that you don't know the pressure of the fan so make the trap 3" deep.

    trap.jpg
    I agree with Rod but your problems go much deeper. 1) you don't have room to install a trap; 2) there is no auxiliary drain pan installed under the unit. To correct the problem the unit will need to be raised enough for the installation of a pan and trap, probably requiring duct work. Be sure the trap is located above the pan or is insulated as it will sweat and drip onto the OSB. Also be sure the trap cap is installed or the trap will be defeated.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Butler View Post
    BOOM! I suspect this is the gurgling problem. The negative pressure in the air handler is not allowing the water to drain so it collects in the pan and is pulling air from inside of the drain line. A trap that is sized for the approximate static pressure rating of the fan plus one inch would correct that problem. I'm guessing that you don't know the pressure of the fan so make the trap 3" deep. <br>
    <br>
    <img src="http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_inspection/attachment.php?attachmentid=33555&amp;stc=1" attachmentid="33555" alt="" id="vbattach_33555" class="previewthumb">
    <br>
    I agree with Rod but your problems go much deeper. &nbsp;1) you don't have room to install a trap; 2) there is no auxiliary drain pan installed under the unit. &nbsp;To correct the problem the unit will need to be raised enough for the installation of a pan and trap, probably requiring duct work. &nbsp;Be sure the trap is located above the pan or is insulated as it will sweat and drip onto the OSB. Also be sure the trap cleanout cap is installed or the trap will be defeated.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    What drain???
    1: Uniform Mechanical Code Section 310.0, 310.1 Condensate Disposal.
    2: ICC Model Building Code, Section 307: Condensate Disposal Regulations & Recommendations

    307.1 requires that liquid condensation from fuel burning appliances be collected and discharged "to an approved plumbing fixture or disposal area in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions"
    307.2 requires a condensate drain system for appliances containing evaporators or cooling coils, conducted from the appliance drain pan to an approved destination.

    The condensate appears to be directed/disposed of below the slab or that is one small drain line

    As well, it appears there are several deficiencies in the condensate line. Trap.
    Section 407.2.4, Traps, requires that "Condensate drains shall be trapped as required by the equipment or appliance manufacturer." We interpret this provision to defer to the equipment manufacturer's installation instructions.
    disposal.JPG

    Last edited by ROBERT YOUNG; 08-03-2017 at 03:41 AM. Reason: Additional; ICC Model Building Code
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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    The condensate appears to be directed/disposed of below the slab or that is one small drain line
    The drain is routed under the slab and terminates outside, typically near the garage, since that's the location of the AHU in this case, adjacent to the condensing unit.

    We're mostly all slab on grade in this area.

    Dom.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Take the cap off and blow in the pipe.
    After it is flowing properly put a cap or 2 of bleach down it.
    I have the same setup as you do.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    The drain is routed under the slab and terminates outside, typically near the garage, since that's the location of the AHU in this case, adjacent to the condensing unit.

    We're mostly all slab on grade in this area.

    Dom.
    Thanks Don.
    Mainly in basements in my neck of the woods.

    The OP stated, the air handler, AHU, is in the garage.
    Garage is sab on grade.

    A trap is required. Either on equipment's, AHU condensate line, or the drain plumbing.

    Drain pipe should slope 1/4" per foot. That would place the termination point where? Near or below grade.

    If on the drain plumbing, would it not further place the drain termination lower?
    As well, this would be an access point for rodents and insects to enter the garage.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    The OP stated, the air handler, AHU, is in the garage.
    Garage is sab on grade.

    A trap is required. Either on equipment's, AHU condensate line, or the drain plumbing.
    Robert,

    What happens when a condensate line is run down under the slab, then runs horizontally past the edge of the building, then turns up to be above the soil?



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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Robert,

    What happens when a condensate line is run down under the slab, then runs horizontally past the edge of the building, then turns up to be above the soil?

    I understand, Jerry. Just making a comment.

    Not many slab on grade in my neck of the woods.
    In 1970's homes, and earlier, I typically see holes drilled through the basement slab where condensate is disbursed directly to the aggregate drainage base below.
    Efflorescence is usually visible.

    From the start of the drain opening in the slab, for the AHU condensate equipment, do the math. 3' drop for every 12'. add 2" for the encased trap = 5".
    How much above grade are slabs in FLA?

    Thanks for pointing that out.
    Best.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    It is a very easy fix..Just do as I stated in my previous post.
    Really!
    Blow the thing out and add bleach!
    It has nothing to do with typical sewer drain.
    The HVAC guy runs a chase usually 3-4in pipe below the slab and grade and pulls the high and low freon lines along with the wiring and the condensation drain line to the outside unit. They don't measure drop per foot . The air handler drain line is usually lower than the AH. Which will allows the condensation to flow by gravity to the lowest discharge point. It is just that simple.
    The OP's is just clogged.

    Last edited by Roy Lewis; 08-04-2017 at 11:49 AM.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    From the start of the drain opening in the slab, for the AHU condensate equipment, do the math. 3' drop for every 12'. add 2" for the encased trap = 5".
    How much above grade are slabs in FLA?
    Robert,

    I didn't say that the condensate drains were properly installed ... or properly trapped ... when under the slab like that - they are neither ... it's just 'done that way' and few, if any, AHJ wish to address it because it makes for a big fight with the contractor, who calls the commissioners, who call the building official and say to the effect of 'What do you think you are doing? That has been done that way for DECADES ... ' yeah, well, A LOT of things have been done wrong for decades, and until someone takes a stand, they will still be done decades from now too.

    The FBC-Residential states:
    - 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. Such piping shall maintain a minimum horizontal slope in the direction of discharge of not less than 1/8 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope). Condensate shall not discharge into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a nuisance.

    The IRC states:
    - M1411.3 Condensate disposal.
    - - Condensate from cooling coils or evaporators shall be conveyed from the drain pan outlet to an approved place of disposal. Such piping shall maintain a minimum horizontal slope in the direction of discharge of not less than 1/8 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope). Condensate shall not discharge into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a nuisance.


    The difference? "Condensate from all cooling" to "Condensate from cooling" - the IRC does not have the word "all" in there.

    Which leaves both codes stating "Such piping shall maintain a minimum horizontal slope in the direction of discharge of not less than 1/8 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope)."

    That means no under-the-slab trapping, and that leaves "the trap" "at the drain pan outlet", not 'somewhere downstream' wherever the contractor feels like putting it.

    Think of it this way - the condensate drain line shall drain to daylight (like looking into a long pipe and seeing daylight at the other end, no going up and creating a trap or dip in the condensate drain line. The condensate drain line goes down, and down only, and there is no trap at the end either, the trap is 'at the drain pan outlet', which is where the manufacturers want it anyway.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Think of it this way - the condensate drain line shall drain to daylight (like looking into a long pipe and seeing daylight at the other end, no going up and creating a trap or dip in the condensate drain line. The condensate drain line goes down, and down only, and there is no trap at the end either, the trap is 'at the drain pan outlet', which is where the manufacturers want it anyway.
    Yep! This isn't rocket science..Nope!
    Here is one from today inspection. It is properly installed.
    The client just had it blowed out that is why you see the crud at the discharge side of the drain.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    Yep! This isn't rocket science..Nope!
    Here is one from today inspection. It is properly installed.
    The client just had it blowed out that is why you see the crud at the discharge side of the drain.
    Nope ... that is IMproperly installed.

    Re-read what the code requires, then look at the photo again - IMproper.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Nope ... that is IMproperly installed.

    Re-read what the code requires, then look at the photo again - IMproper.
    What part about it is improperly installed?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Nope ... that is IMproperly installed.

    Re-read what the code requires, then look at the photo again - IMproper.
    What part about it is improperly installed?


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    What part about it is improperly installed?
    See underlining in the quote below - I just added the underlining.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The FBC-Residential states:
    - 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. Such piping shall maintain a minimum horizontal slope in the direction of discharge of not less than 1/8 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope). Condensate shall not discharge into a street, alley or other areas where it would cause a nuisance.
    How can it come UP if it maintains that slope?

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    See underlining in the quote below - I just added the underlining.


    How can it come UP if it maintains that slope?
    I didn't delete the post I'm working off my phone. The first image is at the air handler condensation drain pan. The second images is the condensation discharge pipe. Which is downhill from the air handler. Now I'm only referring to first level air handler installation where are the freon lines in the condensation drain line runs to the chase through the slab


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    The second images is the condensation discharge pipe. Which is downhill from the air handler. Now I'm only referring to first level air handler installation where are the freon lines in the condensation drain line runs to the chase through the slab
    The code is referring to 'downhill in the direction of discharge' with no end point of the downward slope given, which means ... 'downhill in the direction of discharge' ... all the way ... not 'and then stop at some point and go back up'.

    Yeah, using a phone, even the larger phones, are still so small that they are a pain and cause issues ... I do it often ... and suffer the consequences too.

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The code is referring to 'downhill in the direction of discharge' with no end point of the downward slope given, which means ... 'downhill in the direction of discharge' ... all the way ... not 'and then stop at some point and go
    Exactly!
    The purpose of the P-trap or the Trap if I may call it at the discharge side of the condensation drain is to keep insects and other organic debris from entering. That makes sense doesn't it?


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    Exactly!
    So you are acknowledging that the condensate drain line required to slope downhill all the way to the point of discharge, the end of the pipe?

    But that doesn't fit your description which follows.

    The purpose of the P-trap or the Trap if I may call it at the discharge side of the condensation drain is to keep insects and other organic debris from entering. That makes sense doesn't it?
    If that is its purpose, it doesn't work. What it does do, however, is clog up with all that stuff you pointed to on the ground, the stuff which clogs up that 'trap' and causes the condensate line to backup.

    Creating a trap there to catch that gooky stuff and clog up the condensate line "makes sense"?

    The reason for a trap, and the trap is a "P-trap configuration" yes, in the condensate drain piping is to keep air from blowing out (blow-through style units - blower before the coil) or sucking in (suck-through style units - blower after the coil). There are certain parameters that taps are designed around, and the main parameter is the static pressure in the unit, as well of the offsets in the 'P' configuration.

    Your last comment is intriguing in a humorous kind of way:

    - "makes sense"

    - When is the last time the code "made sense"?

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Static pressure! = pounds per square inch psi.
    Perfect explanation. (P-trap)

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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    Yep! This isn't rocket science..Nope!
    Here is one from today inspection. It is properly installed.
    The client just had it blowed out that is why you see the crud at the discharge side of the drain.
    This is a problem waiting to happen.


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    Default Re: Air Condition issue - Video included

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    not less than 1/8 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope)."
    Why did I consider drain pipe pitch
    Thanks.

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