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  1. #1
    Jerome W. Young's Avatar
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    Default a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    I am not even sure that this is a condensate line but i dont know what else it could be. The air handler is about 15 ft away and it is in a condo? Anyway i dont know what to say about this one

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Jerome,

    The drainline in question is probably the primary condensate. It should not be vented to a sink. Although typical to see, it is wrong.

    rick


  3. #3
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Fritz,

    I learn years ago not to attempt to determine or what is acceptable by every AHJ in our area. He77, you'll get 2 different opinions from the inspectors within the same city.

    rick


  4. #4
    Bruce Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    It's been my experience that there should be a 4" air gap between the sewer drain and the condensate drain. That prevents bacteria from working it's way up the line and into the air handler. When I see these I call them (if I'm sure it's the condensate drain).

    I've had sellers, agents and even some old time HVAC techs (that's the way we have always done it) go off on me about it but that's the price of fame.

    Bruce


  5. #5
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Bruce, when you say "4 inch air gap", are you talking about (in this picture) 4" from the sink's p-trap to where the point where the condensate line connects to the sink's drain?


  6. #6
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    UPC says it's okey dokey.... (C)

    Since the Uniform Plumbing Code says it's ok, the folks at Code Check recoginize it as o.k. as well.

    Good'nuff for me.

    Richard

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  7. #7
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Those hose-clamps look like they came off an old 58 chevy...

    Rich


  8. #8
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    - Is that lamp cord plugged into a regular outlet running to feed the disposal unit?
    - If that's the DW drain hose running to the disposal just sort of laying there then it doesn't look like it has the trap loop going for it.
    - Might consider mentioning that they may get some smell out of the kitchen sink with the condensate hook-up like that. Especially if there's no trap on the pvc coming through wall or if the unit doesn't run for a while.
    Just wondering.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    you might make a comment about 2 traps on one trap arm,an obvious violation?


  10. #10
    Bruce Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    I'm not a code guy, I don't even use the "C" word. The code is only a place to start in my mind.

    When I said 4" air gap I was talking about a drop in open air from the condensate drain into the sewer drain. That way bacteria from the sewer can't find it's way into the air handler from the sewer.

    I think it's a good idea but then again there is that "C" thing. The politically motivated good place to start.

    Bruce

    Last edited by Bruce Thomas; 05-14-2008 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Typo

  11. #11
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    UPC says it's okey dokey.... (C)

    Since the Uniform Plumbing Code says it's ok, the folks at Code Check recoginize it as o.k. as well.

    Good'nuff for me.

    Richard
    Richard,

    "Good'nuff for me."

    Ummm ... are you under the UPC? Or the ICC codes?

    And ... do you have the wording in the UPC which allows it?

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    In my world, it is against the law to dump a condensate drain or any sump pump drain into the municipal sewer system. A utility co. manager explained to me that sewer systems are almost always operating at capacity and they'd just as soon not treat water just for the sport of it.
    The city has apprised builders of it and demanded that they cease.\

    JLMathis


  13. #13
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Jeffrey, where is your part of the world?

    Around here, NOT putting condensate in the sewer would be asking for trouble with foundations.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  14. #14
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    jim:

    I'm in Greenville, N.C.
    I accidently ratted out the practice.
    I inspected a crawl space with a sump pump and casually called one of my better friends who manages a division of Greenville Utilities. He asked up the line and I had an idea that it was against the policy of the utility co to dump anything into the sewer other than house waste. He confirmed that as well as that condensate was also improper and, in fact, statutorily illegal.
    Why would any condenste pose a foundation issue if it is properly lead away from the house by proper grading?
    Around here, we're just a smidge above sea level as it is, but decent grading will disburse that amount of water satisfactorily.

    JLMathis


  15. #15
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Why would any condensate pose a foundation issue if it is properly lead away from the house by proper grading?
    Expansive clay soils. During the 6 or 7 months of not stop A/C use with no rain for months sets the stage then add in a 5' side yard dumping condensate on one side of the house and your in trouble. They used to put in a dry well of sorts a foot or so away from the foundation and dump the condensate there, but that is a rarity now.

    Jim Luttrall
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  16. #16
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
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    Cool Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    I would have to agree with Jim you do not want to dump the condensate to the exterior but to the dwv. So why not the sink drian as long as it is before and above the trap???


  17. #17
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Clayton View Post
    So why not the sink drian as long as it is before and above the trap???

    Where you ...

    wash your hands

    wash your face

    brush your teeth

    prepare your food

    ????

    "So why not ... "

    Just something little called ... bacteria ... and ... sanitation ...

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  18. #18
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Agree, but have you ever opend a "p" trap with or without an ac drain you tell me the differance!! None from what I can see


  19. #19
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Don't know what different types of bacteria are in the two, but I suspect they are not the same.

    Seems as though that must make a big difference, 'cause the code (being "minimum") recognizes it, and if "minimum" recognizes it, why would one want to challenge it and go against even "minimum"?

    Beats the heck out of me why some so insist, though.

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  20. #20
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Ok, I must be behind I'm unaware of any code dissallowing this type of termination point???


  21. #21
    Jeff Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    I'd rather have a termination above a lavatory trap than what I usually see down here. The most common method I see locally is a termination to a trap in the attic. Of course, during heating season the trap dries out from lack of condensate and pulls sewer gas into supply air. That can be a bigger source of contamination than the connection to the lavatory trap. During the summer, algal growth almost always obstructs the trap and causes spillage into insulation and onto the ceiling.

    Jeff

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Randy,

    From the IRC. (underlining is mine)

    P2706.3 Prohibited waste receptors.
    Plumbing fixtures that are used for domestic or culinary purposes shall not be used to receive the discharge of indirect waste piping.

    - Exceptions:
    - - 1. A kitchen sink trap is acceptable for use as a receptor for a dishwasher.
    - - 2. A laundry tray is acceptable for use as a receptor for a clothes washing machine.


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  23. #23
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    I have been misstated,ok which IRC did that come from? The year? thanks


  24. #24
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Clayton View Post
    which IRC did that come from? The year? thanks
    2000, the first IRC (the first ICC codes was for 2000).

    Same wording in 2003 and 2006.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Waste - liquid borne waste that is free of fecal matter.

    Receptor - A fixture or device that receives the discharge from indirect waste pipes.

    Waste pipe - Piping that conveys only liquid sewage not containing fecal matter.

    Sewage - Any liquid waste containing animal matter, vegetable matter or other impurity in suspension or solution.

    Couldnt find a definition for impurity. Is anyone aware of an official code interpretation on this? Apparently IRC doesnt specifically adress AC condensate disposal. These installations are the norm in Houston.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jerry Peck Randy,

    From the IRC. (underlining is mine)

    P2706.3 Prohibited waste receptors.
    Plumbing fixtures that are used for domestic or culinary purposes shall not be used to receive the discharge of indirect waste piping.

    - Exceptions:
    - - 1. A kitchen sink trap is acceptable for use as a receptor for a dishwasher.
    - - 2. A laundry tray is acceptable for use as a receptor for a clothes washing machine.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Apparently IRC doesnt specifically adress AC condensate disposal.
    Huh???

    Sure it does, it is included in all the things that are not supposed to be in there, you posted a good list of definitions for that stuff, and a/c condensate fits in them.

    These installations are the norm in Houston.
    Yeah, but they *should not* be allowing them.

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  27. #27
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Think of all the "sewage" associated with window units and automobile ACs. Sure its not going into your sink, but your stepping in it and tracking it all over the place.

    Strange about the washing machine discharge being acceptable. I think in "ancient" times, people used to actually wash baby diapers in them!

    Id still like to see a code interpretation from the governing body.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: a/c condensate terminating at sink drain

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Strange about the washing machine discharge being acceptable.
    Ahh, but ... did you read "where" (and *only where*) clothes washers and dishwashers are allowed to discharge to in those exception.

    Those exceptions are not 'blanket' exceptions, they are *very specific* exceptions say "what" and "where".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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