A/C Condensate funky drain

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by GMZoo, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. GMZoo

    GMZoo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
    IMG_0636-shrunk.jpg Hello again, I must again state I'm a rookie, and recently the go-to-girl for all things 'household-busted'... While trouble-shooting my house drainage, discovered water gathered under the house from what appeared to be the A/C. We have had the crawl-space sealed up by foundation people and bugs and rodents are almost completely eliminated from space.
    We have sopped up the mess (twice) and tested-cleaned out the pump which sends the condensate out to the side of the house. 2nd pass was to clean out the drain pipe, which was clearly plugged. (I realize we probably did that backwards.) Lots of water backed up under air handler coils, now cleared out. Picture attached: Two questions:
    1) The water was backed up and leaking from the bottom of the air-handler. Now that it's clear, is the rusting on the coils cause for replacing them? Or drainage overflow pan?
    2) The drain pipe has that 'u' and not sure the purpose. I want to take the whole thing out and make sure it's clear... Do I need to reconnect keeping the 'U' shape or can I make it more straight? Could the 'u' be intended to trap insects or something?? If so, that problem is likely gone.

    Any help would be appreciated. Nance
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,002
    Location:
    New England
    The staining is likely from the pan...if it gets bad enough, the pan will start leaking on its own. That U-shape is supposed to be a trap. The trap keeps the system from blowing air out the pipe. Instead of replacing it with a cobbled up trap, they do make one-piece traps for this application.
  3. GMZoo

    GMZoo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Can I replace the pan only? Thx for the insights.
  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Looks like the drain was plugged and the unit was not draining for a while.

    To change the pan you would need to lift the unit.

    Anything can be done. The bottom of the coil could be leaking soon tho.

    If it can break then it can be fixed.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,001
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Once the drain is cleared, it should be fine.
    Those small drains can back things up, and yes, the trap is important.

    If it's draining now, and no further leaks, you should be good to go.
  6. GMZoo

    GMZoo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Thanks for these inputs. I have the drain clear, and I will replace the trap with a single piece versus all those corners... now there is dripping in both corners of the bottom of the air handler where it connects with the incoming vent. Let's say the drain pipe is on the east side of the unit, the leaks are on the north east and north west corners. That would be to the right of the pipe just past where the picture shows. I think the drain pan is corroded. Was thinking of trying to seal up those corners from the inside? Kind of hard to reach, and sloppy mess in the drain pan itself. Thoughts?
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,002
    Location:
    New England
    If the pan is leaking, then trying to seal it may be as much work as replacing it. Also, I may have been wrong about blowing air out, that area might be under suction and not pressure, so it could be sucking outside air (bugs, pollen, etc.) in without the trap. Regardless, a trap is required per the manufacturer's instructions, so it's best to follow their guidelines.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    You maybe could try some of that Gutter Spray on sealer in a spray can, That Billy Mays was advertizing.

    That would be Half Fast but may get you by.

    If you try replacing the drain pan you may run into other problems.

    Putting another pan under the unit may work also. It may be old enough that the whole unit needs to be replaced.
  9. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Or/and Nance, you might try tipping the air handler ever so slightly that the condensate will run towards the drain and not run through the rusted out area that you cannot see or get at:)
  10. kyleanderson

    kyleanderson New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    manchester, kentucky
    trap is bad design. the rust on the coil is the level of trap. trap need to be below the pan and also there should be only an inch lower at exit. in other words the last elb on the pve should be 1 in below the first elb pvc. and the reason the trap is on there is. if trap is design right the water will discharge while the blower is runing. if there is not a trap installed, the coil pan will not make water untill the blower kicks off. if the trap is design right and isnt filled with water the drain pan will not let the water thru untill the blower kicks off. now that is why there should be a trap. pan can be change maybe only 2 ot four screw on the new one. but you need to fix your trap, you are calling it a U
  11. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    A good HVAC guy can replace the pan. I agree with kyle.... about the trap too high. And you have another defect. That blue plug you see is the secondary drain. Someone plugged it because it was probably dripping constantly due to your faulty installation!!! Any warranty you might have had, for example on that rust on the coil which may damage the copper....is voided by failing to observe the secondary drain.
  12. Failure2Comply

    Failure2Comply New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    First listing a manufacture name, model number and serial number to start. The black on the PVC is mold, mist with a mixture of bleach and water AFTER you install a proper "J" trap. I would have an HVAC company chemically treat the coil and flush the drain pan and lines, which should be done once per year. Most good condensate pumps have a built-in float switch to break "Y" to stop the unit from refrigerating thus stopping the condensate, if equipped have it wired in. The age of the unit and a history of backing up into the drain pan and overflowing into the cabinet will have created a mold issue by now. Misting the duct liner with a mild mixture of bleach and water will kill the mold. If you do not address the mold every time the blower comes on you will be spreading it.
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