LOUD DRIPPING - A/C condensation drain behind the wall

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by jeff_bathroom, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Hi,
    I wasn't sure whether to put this thread in the plumbing forum or not. Seems to me that HVAC folks should
    know how to deal with this issue. I went into the attic last night and followed the pvc pipe from the air handler
    to what looks like an open 1 1/2" pipe starting at the floor of the attic going down the bathroom wall and probably
    connecting to the vanity sink drain at some point. There appears to be a p-trap about 2 1/2 feet down from the attic
    floor which would be about head height standing in the bathroom below. The drainage pipe I think is 3/4" diameter and sticking
    about 18" down the drain pipe and I think the ptrap is about 2 1/2 feet down. The drip is very loud. We can hear it easily
    in the living room.
    So, that's the problem. I would think a good way to have set this up would be a slight bend above the ptrap like maybe 22 degrees,
    then the trap , then reverse the 22 if necessary, but probably no need if set up that way to begin with. I don't want to cut into
    the wall though. So, how to solve this problem? I thought of fashioning something flat just below the 3/4" pipe to divert the drips
    to the side of the pipe, but it would have to fit fairly flush with the side of that 1 1/2" drain pipe in order not to just roll off the
    end and again drip into the pool of water in the ptrap. I'm guessing there is some other clever way to fix this.
    Making the problem possibly a little more difficult is that after that a/c drain was established, then the plumber ran the bath vent
    pipe horizontally across the top of the horizontal a/c drain pipe in the attic to the roof. So, the a/c pipe cannot be pulled out completely
    from the drain unless I cut it somewhere. Suggestions?

    Thanks.
  2. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Bump. Wish it were a coffee maker?
    Surprised nobody's got a fix for this one.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Pictures might help. I don't know how you would access the pipe down in the stud bay without cutting into the drywall.

    Maybe you could go in from the top with an inside pipe cutter and then glue in an offset with two matched elbows. They can be had in a variety of angles (11-1/4, 22-1/2, 33, 45). That would cause the water to hit the sloping pipe instead of the standing water.

    Maybe you could soften the pipe with a heat gun and put an offset bend in it. Don't burn down the house.
  4. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    I was hoping there was some method to redirect the water to the side of the drain pipe so that
    it would drizzle down into the ptrap. I was hoping not to have to cut the drain pipe. If I had to cut the smaller
    a/c drain pipe to make a modification to the end of it, that would be preferable. I'll take a photo in awhile.
    Seems I read that someone else that had this problem ran the a/c drain all the way into the water in the ptrap,
    but that ended up making the water suck upwards into the a/c drain pipe. Some kind of fluid physics that I don't understand.
  5. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    P1000859.jpg P1000858.jpg
    Attached are a couple photos. One shows where the a/c drain goes down into the drain pipe.
    About 2 1/2 to 3 feet below the top of that black drain pipe is the p-trap.
    The other photo shows the bathroom vent pipe going over the top of the white a/c condensation
    drain pipe such that I cannot pull that drain pipe completely out of the black drain pipe.
    Hope that makes sense.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If you have enough fall on the 3/4" drain, you could raise it up and glue a 45 elbow on the top of the 1.5" drain. The water should then dribble down the side of the pipe and not make dripping sounds.
  7. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Interesting thought. I'll check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,157
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    You could use a piece of aquarium air tubing to let the water travel down on.

    Just insert it in the drain going down until the sound stops, and tie it off at the top.

    That is what NASA would do, now that there is a budget cut.


    Good Luck.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    OK, if we are going in the direction of suggesting code violations... hang a wick down to the trap. The water will follow the wick. That and the tubing suggestion most likely violates the air gap rule.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    One could maintain the airgap by inserting a spiral baffle into the pipe. Take a strip of aluminum and twist it into a spiral. The water will strike the baffle on an angle and run down its surface.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,157
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I was not "suggesting code violations"

    I was suggesting something that I know will work.

    How is a 1/4 inch pvc tubing going to violate the air gap rule ?

    Wick will hold mold, Unlike aquarium tubing, that is about 10 cents a foot.


    Most people run the air condition drain onto the ground, and it is legal in most states.
  12. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Hi,
    Sorry I have not responded. It appears either my profile is not set up for receiving emails
    or there's something wrong with that function. I'll check my profile in a bit.
    I did fix the problem and I'll describe it in a minute.
  13. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Here's what I did to fix it. I did think about gluing a short horizontal then vertical at the top and
    feed the small pipe into that. But, that seemed like a lot of work.
    I found an easy, cheap, and fast fix. I doubt it would be against code either, but feel free to respond.
    I had a spare shower curtain rod slip on decorative plastic cover. It is the length of a shower
    curtain rod obviously and it looks like a solid tube of plastic. But it is slit all the way from one end to
    the other so that it can be slipped over an old ugly metal rod. So, I just basically did that. I spread
    the plastic end and started it around the downspout and just pushed it on all the way til it hit the ptrap.
    There's about two feet of it sticking above the drain hole that I'll need to trim off, but as soon as I slipped
    it on, it started working. No more drips at all. So, cheap, fast, easy and since it has a slit in it, no water will
    be able to be suctioned upward.
    Sound ok?
  14. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    I thought I'd upload some photos since this was such a good and easy fix. That plastic decorative tube was made to order.
    Photo before I cut off the plastic piece and after. I'm spreading the leftover piece to show that it's slit all the way down.

    P1000864.jpg
    P1000866.jpg
  15. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    2,843
    Location:
    01609
    I don't know if all of those un-sealed electrical & plumbing penetrations of the framing into the attic even meet fire code in GA, but it's a pretty lousy thing from an energy-use and moisture-transfer point of view too.

    When the weather is no longer hot to cooking brains to spend a weekend up there it's worth going around and systematically air-sealing all air-channels at the ceiling plane. If you pressurize the first floor with window fans flipped around to pump air into the house rather than out you'd likely be able to pin-point much of the less-obvious leaks by the rising dust/fiberglass and caulk or fireblock-foam them. (Use sheet metal to seal around flues, and wrap the flues with R15 rock wool batts to avoid flue contact with other insulation.) Then put the pink stuff back in place as best you can and blow 3-6" of cellulose (which is higher density and far more air retardent than fiberglass or rock wool) over the top to fill in all of the seams, forming a decent air-retarder over the fiberglass.
  16. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    I'd like to spend some to save some. But I won't spend that up front money until our country is returned to a working free market.
    Point of this thread though was the fix for the dripping noise and problem is solved. My other house was built just like this one so
    I suspect it is to code here in GA.
  17. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    2,843
    Location:
    01609
    Returned to a working free market? Really? Are all building codes an infringement on free-market, in your view?

    Air sealing is the CHEAPEST sort of energy efficiency improvement you'll ever make, and it'll improve both comfort & indoor air quality year round. A 3-5" overblow of cellulose is almost as cheap, but boosts summertime comfort more so than wintertime comfort in a GA climate. Air sealing also protects the structural wood from moisture damage/mold, since exfiltration paths in winter deposit moisture in cold wood, and in summer infiltration paths deposit moisture on the paper facers of the wallboard in air conditioned homes (though it's not nearly as severe for you as it is in south FL or parts of the TX gulf coast.)

    Current GA code for new houses has to meet the IRC 2009 air leakage limit of 7 air changes per hour @ 50 Pascal pressure. Your might pass, but I wouldn't count on it. But that spec is dead-easy to meet, even as a retrofit, though most homes in GA built before 2008 see more air leakage than that. But independently of whether that's a government intrusion, it's demonstrably cost-effective in short years, and and going from a >10ACH/50 house to ~3 ACH/50 (a typical result of one pass using blower-door directed air sealing) is a comfort uptick you can FEEL, as is blowing another R10-15 or so of cellulose on top of R19 fiberglass, filling in the voids & compressions.

    It took until 2011 for GA to ban active attic ventilation in the building codes, (another intrusion on the free market I s'pose) despite ample evidence going back decades that actively ventilating an attic primarily cools the attic by sucking conditioned air into the attic from the space below through all the leaks in the attic floor, which in turn sucks humid outdoor air into the conditioned space, lowering comfort and increasing energy use. Even without a fan driving it, the stack effect does some of the same, though it's an order of magnitude or so lower. But the comparative infra-red radiation opacity of cellulose to low-density fiberglass has as much to do with summertime comfort and cooling load reduction as the additional R value.

    So, you can either sacrifice comfort & cooling/heating expenses on the altar of free market principles, or judiciously apply building science & financial investment principles to make it a more comfortable home, it's completely up to you. But I doubt there's any legal or safe investment available to you with better after-tax returns than the modest improvements suggested.

    This isn't much different than pointing out to somebody that their left-rear tire looks a bit low- drive on it the way it is if you like, but it'll handle better and last longer if you take the time to give it some air. If you plan on living in the house one more year a decent DIY round of air sealing will more than pay for itself. A DIY cellulose overblow to restore the performance of the fiberglass and maybe a bit more could take 5 years to pay off or it might take 3- hard to tell without a more detailed inspection. If you let the pros do it the financial payback will take longer, but they might do more, and fix & find the less-obvious leaks, improving comfort & efficiency more (or not- depends on the pro.) With the drive for new nukes going on in GA I don't expect electricity to do anything but rise over the next decade, given the huge capitalization costs of the project, so payoff can be quicker than how it first pencils out.
  18. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    No, I just know an anti-American liberal when I see one. Your off-topic political statement was not, and is not welcome in this conversation.
    The economy is dead because of your vote and your cart before the horse, idiotic ideals. Everyone wants a clean environment and efficient
    energy and it can be done properly in time, but not all at once at the cost of destroying the economy, the free market system
    and the country in the process, particularly when it's being rammed down our throats by idiots who create stupid ideas like Solyndra. When we're all in bread lines,
    I don't think your little plan above is going to matter. Don't worry, the number of people collecting food stamps is now more than those of us
    whom are lucky enough to be able to still work for a living. It appears your King will shortly have the rest of us out of work too.
  19. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,843
    Location:
    01609
    For the record, it was jeff_bathroom that politicized the thread with the "...until our country is returned to a working free market..." statement, which was completely uncalled for given that what I'd suggested in the prior was completely technical &/or code related.

    Characterizing me as an "anti-American liberal", would be pretty far off the mark too. (Need new glasses? :) )

    I'm proud to be an American, an engineer- and I work the numbers on what is/isn't cost effective, which is pretty far from what could rationally thought of as "...at the cost of destroying the economy, the free market system and the country in the process, particularly when it's being rammed down our throats by idiots who create stupid ideas like Solyndra." I didn't invent the D.O.E. nor do I endorse their budget, but I sure won't ignore the basic math when available, whether it comes from D.O.E. publications or elsewhere.

    It's neither liberal or anti-American to make your house more comfortable and energy efficient using methods that have very short financial payback periods. It boosts the economy by putting more money in your pocket to spend as you see fit. If you prefer to hand that money to (the regulated monopoly) Georgia Power to pay for their (federally subsidized by your tax dollars & mine in several ways- you're welcome!) nuclear power projects, that's entirely up to you, but don't pretend it's the free-market at work, that it'll save jobs, or that it's our patriotic duty to spend more on utilities. Whether you believe the GP nukes are the most cost-effective way forward or not (and there are more than two sides to that particular issue, as well as to it's relative cleanliness), using less power frees up more grid capacity for more local economic development to use, which isn't exactly an economy-destroying free-market destroying act.

    I'm glad you got your condensate drain issues under control, but I'm sorry you're so easily offended with the suggestion that you could tighten up the place a bit on the cheap. None of my prior posts on this thread contain political content, yet somehow you seem to see some phantoms there. I still don't understand what you meant by "...until our country is returned to a working free market."- thought mayhaps you'd spell it out, but I'm beyond caring what you actually think at this point, given the shallowness & mis-directed bile of your response. Good luck!
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,157
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I know that you mean well Dana.

    I live in a older house, and for me to bring my house up to today's spec would cost me more than the house cost to build.


    When should you bulldoze and start over ?
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