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Thread: help with hvac

  1. #1
    laura parrella's Avatar
    laura parrella Guest

    Default help with hvac

    Hi all, I am a homeowner with a few questions.
    I had one of my ac units blowing hot air, and a service man came out and replaced a capacitor. Within minutes of him leaving, it was blowing hot again.
    Second repairmen came and replaced a motor. He also went to the attic and said he checked drain line for clogs and that we were good to go.

    About a week later I noticed water damage in the wall and window sill of my master bathroom below the area of the attic where the hvac units are. when I went up to check, the drain pan was full of water and I noticed he had replaced a section of the condensate line. It seems he got rid of the vent and it looks like it is running uphill after the trap and before the drain line.

    My other unit has that same area level and not uphill. Could this be why there is water in the drain pan and a leak in the walls? Is there any reason to ever get rid of the access and close it up completely? I know I have to call them to come back and remedy the situation, but I want to have a better understanding of what has happened.

    Thank you so much for any help.

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    Last edited by laura parrella; 06-19-2019 at 03:30 AM. Reason: mistake
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: help with hvac

    Quote Originally Posted by laura parrella View Post
    It seems he got rid of the vent and it looks like it is running uphill after the trap and before the drain line.
    .
    .
    Could this be why there is water in the drain pan and a leak in the walls?
    Quite likely, yes.

    Is there any reason to ever get rid of the access and close it up completely?
    I presume that you are referring to the vent you say they're to have removed?

    If the vent is in the wrong location, yes.

    The vent should be after the trap, not before the trap.

    If it is before the trap, it would be an access to allow cleaning out the condensate line - some contractors put those in - and when there, they need to be kept capped when not being used for cleaning the line, otherwise (if left open) it defeats the purpose of the trap.

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

  3. #3
    laura parrella's Avatar
    laura parrella Guest

    Default Re: help with hvac

    Thank you for your response.

    Yes, I meant the vent and not the access. What he did was cut out the section containing the trap and the vent that came after the trap. He then replaced it with just a trap and the section after the trap is running slightly uphill where as the other unit has the pipe after the trap level followed by the vent.

    As best as I can tell after reading about it all night, the water went into the pan on the floor and I am guessing the pipe from that pan is leaking into the walls. I don't understand why he would remove the vent and not know to make it level or slightly downhill.


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    Default Re: help with hvac

    Morning, Laura.
    Hope to find you well and in good spirits today.

    Laura, could you post the make and serial number of the HVAC unit?
    Go outside to the compressor. Use your cell phone camera and send an image please, unless the unit is water cooled.

    Personally, I inspect HVAC units and cannot determine is the condensate tubes are capable of dispersing water properly. If the condensate dispersal tube is not functioning, there would likely be bulk water stains to draw an analysis from.

    There are several requirements required for condensate tubes.
    Here is a link to help you understand Condensate drains & pumps, Codes & recommendations for HVAC Condensate Drainage.

    The Uniform Mechanical Code; Section 310.0 - 310.1 covers Condensate Disposal.

    This link is from ICC. General Regulations.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

  5. #5
    laura parrella's Avatar
    laura parrella Guest

    Default Re: help with hvac

    Good morning and thank you for responding. The ac unit label is too faded to see in a picture, but it is a Carrier and the model # is 38CKC024340 serial #- 3904E07809. The unit in the attic is also Carrier model #58STA045---11108 SERIAL #4204A25401.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/Z2hsio3d89JLMn6C7

    I am having trouble posting pics, so hopefully this link works.
    picture1- what he removed
    2- what is there now
    3- what is was before he changed it (this is my other unit, it was the same)
    4&5- pictures of the unit in the attic

    Also wanted to add these 2 photos to show photo 2 has to go up an incline, photo one is the unit that is not having any issues.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/E39Mnw9bMpheeYsh7

    Last edited by laura parrella; 06-19-2019 at 07:28 AM. Reason: additional info

  6. #6
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    Default Re: help with hvac

    If you look at the photos showing the condensate lines where they are connected to the unit, you will see that one is higher than the other.

    The lower one is the primary condensate line. Only when that one becomes clogged or there is something causing water to not flow downhill and out (such as the line itself going uphill) will water fill the condensate pan inside the unit enough that the water level rises and flows out the higher (secondary) condensate pipe.

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

  7. #7
    laura parrella's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with hvac

    Just wanted to say thank you to those who responded and post the update.
    The company sent out another repairman and he corrected the slope and put the vent back. This corrected the problem immediately.

    Because it had been running in th wall for a few days, I have to have a water restoration company fix the damage. Luckily it is only one wall in the master bath, a small part of the ceiling and the window casing. I was told the superviser will call to discuss the damage. I hope they will make it right so I don't need to make a claim on my insurance.
    Thanks again.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: help with hvac

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If you look at the photos showing the condensate lines where they are connected to the unit, you will see that one is higher than the other.

    The lower one is the primary condensate line. Only when that one becomes clogged or there is something causing water to not flow downhill and out (such as the line itself going uphill) will water fill the condensate pan inside the unit enough that the water level rises and flows out the higher (secondary) condensate pipe.
    No air gap or clean out provision Jerry.
    Discharge tubes clog. Condensate tubes require atmospheric vent, the air gaps, traps, to which there are bulk water traps, and a means to clean out the tube or a cleanout provision.
    hvac 1.JPG

    I might be wrong but, the second condensate discharge line, the one slightly higher, is a required backup tube for certain HVAC models.

    Thoughts?

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

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    Default Re: help with hvac

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    No air gap or clean out provision Jerry.
    Discharge tubes clog. Condensate tubes require atmospheric vent, the air gaps, traps, to which there are bulk water traps, and a means to clean out the tube or a cleanout provision.
    hvac 1.JPG

    I might be wrong but, the second condensate discharge line, the one slightly higher, is a required backup tube for certain HVAC models.

    Thoughts?
    Laura - you're not getting the answer you should be, and each case can be somewhat different:

    1st - coils under positive pressure (yours) are NOT trapped, they need a vent. They are only trapped if & when tee'd with other drains

    2nd - the secondary drain (the upper one) shouldn't be plumbed at all - instead a float switch should be installed in that connection.

    Get a licensed competent contractor engaged.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: help with hvac

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Borowski View Post
    Laura - you're not getting the answer you should be, and each case can be somewhat different:
    Especially these below (except the last one).

    1st - coils under positive pressure (yours) are NOT trapped, they need a vent. They are only trapped if & when tee'd with other drains

    2nd - the secondary drain (the upper one) shouldn't be plumbed at all - instead a float switch should be installed in that connection.

    Get a licensed competent contractor engaged.
    1st - coils under positive pressure don't NEED a trap for condensate drainage (unless the code says it does), but they need a trap for efficiency to keep conditioned air from being blown out and wasted.

    2nd - a float switch is ONE OPTION, the secondary drain is ALSO AN OPTION. It depends on the local code and the installer.

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

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