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

    Default Overflow Pan Testing

    Does anyone actually do more than visually look at these (AC and Water Heater) and make sure they are sized correctly and actually have drain lines (where applicable).

    Its kind of hard to say with certainty that they actually perform correctly unless you actually poured some water into them and watched it drain out, and make sure it drains out the discharge pipe.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    I don't test them.

    Not sure if this is the same thing, but I don't short-out electric circuits to make sure the overcurrent device trips, either. Have to draw the line somewhere.

    I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, believe it or not, but other examples might include hosing down the roof to check for leaks or, somehow, increasing the temperature and/or pressure in the water heater to see if the TPR valve functions properly.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    "Does anyone actually do more than visually look at these (AC and Water Heater) and make sure they are sized correctly and actually have drain lines (where applicable)."
    Yes


    "Its kind of hard to say with certainty that they actually perform correctly unless you actually poured some water into them and watched it drain out, and make sure it drains out the discharge pipe."

    Pour water in them, No
    You make a good point, but I'm not willing to pour water in them.

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

  4. #4
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    Oct 2003
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    I've never poured water in the pans but I've seen the pan full of water due to the tank leaking. What I've noticed is that the pans never completely drain so the water heater is going to rust sitting directly on the pan. Very seldom do you see them elevated in the pans. I write them up if they are not.

    rick


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Muncie, Indiana
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    78

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    I will check to see if the drain line is plumbed but do not pour water in them to see where they drain. I suggest the homeowner do that for future reference with colored food dye. I had one plumbed inside a wall cavity once and the buyer called to let me know after I had suggested this that his wall changed to a blue color after a few times. Seems the seller meant to drill a hole into crawl space but forgot.
    Many times I find the presence of the pan without any drain line connection.

    I also point out the draining into the crawl space. How can you identify a leak or TPR valve problem if you can't see the drainage?


  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    I usually pee into at least one toilet. Does that count???


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I usually pee into at least one toilet. Does that count???
    Just pee in the pan under the water heater... that solves the whole issue.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Kalamazoo, MI
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    John,
    Although I don't ever test them myself as well, I do check to see if there is any signs of past water leakage (e.g. staining) and if so then investigate further as needed.

    Bob

    RJDalga
    http://homeanalysts.com
    Kalamazoo, MI

  9. #9
    Patrick Martinez's Avatar
    Patrick Martinez Guest

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    A lot of times, I have noticed that as a plumber, the pans are either screwed or nailed to the base they sit on, hence, water will leak through invariably getting to sheetrock or any other porous surface. So to answer the question, no.


  10. #10
    Rick Harrington's Avatar
    Rick Harrington Guest

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    As I read this above I am amazed at all the great reminders the members here put in the responses.

    This is just what I read in the posts above.

    1) is the pan securred to the structure through the pan
    2) is the unit sitting flush on the pan
    3) do all the connections appear to be in working condition
    4) advise the buyer to test using colored dye in the water
    5) Don't pee in the pan

    Don't forget to disclose that the drain was not tested and it APPEARS to be functional.

    Thanks !!!


  11. #11
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Smile Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    John,

    It is best that you follow the SOP's of your local organization, association or other authority that your area follows. There are times when you will feel or see the need to exceed those Standards. If you do, remember, remain consistent with your testing and reporting so that you can be defended in a court of law. That means that what ever you do on one dwelling you should do on all other dwellings. Where ever you pee...don't get caught.

    Mitch Toelle


  12. #12
    j h burd's Avatar
    j h burd Guest

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    hi all. i'm new here. so i'm killing two birds with one stone. one i'm introducing myself and the second addressing an issue in this topic.

    i'd also like to thank Brian Hannigan for offering to walk me through setup if i needed it.

    on the topic. i'll focus on the a/c side since this is my strong point, and i'll focus on florida since it's where i live and work and it's codes and various interpretations. overflow switches in a/c units whether on a primary drain line, the secondary (depending on your local codes), or an aux. drain pan in an a/h/u hung in a horizontal application...should, imho, always be checked via pouring water into the pan(s). i've seen too many times on secondary style switches an a/c tech pull out the switch from the pvc style housing and push up on it to see if it works. often under water issues this style of checking fails to recognize bigger issues such as the level of the unit or pan that isn't obvious to the eye and was never checked with a level, etc. or a sinking platform top. there are other reaons but this one happens quite often.

    on another note, often the switch(es) work, but the drain line was run either double trapped unintentionally. or run where it will not drain properly. lots of codes to comply with in this area so always check with your local codes...but this is another reason to actually use water to make sure the pans and switches are working as they should.

    since you are being paid to inspect properly..what's a few more minutes of your time to make sure they work as they should? just my opinion.


  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by j h burd View Post
    hi all. i'm new here.

    Welcome aboard. Lots of information here for everyone to learn and share, so dig in.

    ...but this is another reason to actually use water to make sure the pans and switches are working as they should.

    since you are being paid to inspect properly..what's a few more minutes of your time to make sure they work as they should? just my opinion.

    Well, we could apply that logic to everything we inspect. I suppose we all must draw the line somewhere. HVAC systems are complex, and a normal inspection doesn't include water testing the drains. Perhaps a HVAC tech would do that test, certainly, but I doubt many HIs would do it.

    I don't believe that running water into a system that could cause damage is a good idea. And you were aware that the possibility of damage existed before running the water into the pan/drain/etc.

    I'm not arguing with you, just offering another point of view.

    Dom.


  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Chicago IL
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    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    I don't pour water in the pan for pretty much the same reasons as others.
    I do: follow the pvc drain as possible to see where it goes
    check to see if the pan is screwed down (gotta love those multi-purpose drywall screws)
    If it has an alarm I do trip it to see if it works
    Oddly, I don't usually find many problems with either HWT or AC pans. I think contractors try to do them right mostly because they know it will cost THEM if the thing leaks.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  15. #15
    Brown Morris's Avatar
    Brown Morris Guest

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    You might want to look and see if the drain lines from the pan go to a drain. If they go to a drain line make sure the drain lines are running down hill. If the line goes under the house make sure the drain to the outside of the house. Yes this is all a visible type inspection.


  16. #16
    j h burd's Avatar
    j h burd Guest

    Default Re: Overflow Pan Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Welcome aboard. Lots of information here for everyone to learn and share, so dig in.




    Well, we could apply that logic to everything we inspect. I suppose we all must draw the line somewhere. HVAC systems are complex, and a normal inspection doesn't include water testing the drains. Perhaps a HVAC tech would do that test, certainly, but I doubt many HIs would do it.

    I don't believe that running water into a system that could cause damage is a good idea. And you were aware that the possibility of damage existed before running the water into the pan/drain/etc.

    I'm not arguing with you, just offering another point of view.

    Dom.

    thanks for the welcome, Dom.

    excellent points...i don't take anything as arguing, unless it is arguing. so don't worry about offending me. i'm here for other's ideas and points of views...so i welcome constructive critiques and insights. thanks for your take on the issue.


    j.h.


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