Drain pan rusted through -- replacement advice


Old 06-19-06, 07:10 AM
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Drain pan rusted through -- replacement advice

Hi All glad I found this forum. It's a wealth of information.

I have an Amana central air unit that's about 15 years old. I purchased my home about a year ago. Last weekend, the condensation drain was disturbed and since have had water forming on the basement floor. No water is going through the drain pipe/tube. I investigated and found the drain pan/tray has quite a bit of rust and when I poured in a little water in the tray, it spilled right out where the pan and drain meets. So it seems the pan is fractured/rusted through.

I read in the forums about getting a new pan fabricated. When calling around today it was suggested I may need a new coil unit with the pan and it would probably run about $350. I inquired about fabricating a new pan, and they said it could be an option, but may depend on the condition of the coils. If they were well rusted/corroded, etc, it may be better to just replace the whole deal. He said it would probably run me $150 - $200 to replace the tray (assuming an OEM can't be found). We're going to chat again when I have model numbers. I used numbers found on here (about $75) to estimate a new tray and he agreed.

I'm not a big AC user, but certainly want this repaired. Considering it's an older unit and I don't get a whole lot of use out of the AC, I'm thinking if I can save $200 or so, that might make sense.

My questions are:

What are the benifits of replacing the whole coil if the cost difference was only say $150? Will it function better, resulting is more efficient use?

Are there any diagrams or anything of typical units that could help make this DIY? My evaporator/condensate area is sealed in sheet metal/ductwork. I opened the side where the drain is, and there are two lines going to the compressor unit on the same side. That side is not very accessible because I can't remove the ductwork because of the installed lines. I didn't look at the other side... What side should I be working from to access the coils and tray?

Do you think the service company could forward specs for the fabricator to make a new tray? I'd hate to have them come and remove the tray, then come back to install the new one, unless of course they were willing to do so for no additional charge.

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Old 06-19-06, 02:00 PM
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Drain Pan

I prefer to remove the old pan & take it to the fabricator. It makes for far fewer errors in measurement in the field & at the fabrication shop. If you supply the measurements, the shop makes a pan to those specs, & it doesn't fit, it's your baby. You would be way ahead of the game to let the HVAC contractor pull the pan.
Old 06-19-06, 03:31 PM
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even easier get some sheet metal and metal sheers or hack saw or some way to cut the metal, and then pliers to bend it. If you don't have a welder you can use epoxy for metal to seal seams.
You can pick up sheet metal at hardware stores etc, and even spray paint it with a protectant against rust. This doesn't have to be a perfect replica since were not racing your drain pan in the F1 race series, it just has to fit and catch the water. Plus it should cost under $20 for the whole thing.

A drain pan isn't some hightech precision crucial device.
Old 06-19-06, 07:47 PM
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Can you coat the pan?
Old 06-19-06, 08:16 PM
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What an interesting coincidence...we were just coming up with ideas for someone at work who had this problem. Bending the sheet metal and using epoxy was high on the list. Someone else suggested you may be able to take some PVC pipe, cut it lengthwise, glue it with 90 degree elbows, and you'll have a drain pan. With either suggestion, you could just lift the coil and slide the tray under it.

You're probably going to have to cut the sheet metal at the tubing so that you can lift the coil. You can seal it with duct sealer (it's like a plumber's putty) and some foil tape (don't use regular duct tape, use the shiny foil tape, it's far better).
Old 06-19-06, 08:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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my two cents

if the evaporator is 15 years old then your best bet would probably be to just go ahead and replace the entire coil assembly. All of the new evaporators have plastic drain pans from the factory, Amana, Carrier etc. The majority of manufacturers are using expansion valves for refrigerant metering now instead of piston or capillary tube which can be more efficient and will work with virtually any new high efficiency air conditioner if you decide to purchase one down the road.
Old 06-21-06, 06:44 PM
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Turns out that the guy who had this problem at work removed his old pan and took the job to someone who does sheet metal fabrication. It cost him $60 for a new custom made pan.
Old 07-18-06, 07:04 AM
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Looks like the resolution of this will be a new pan, which will cost $180 and is on order from the manufacturer. I was told the coil was in good condition and a new one would cost $800 to install. It will probably be another $150 or so to pan install. I am certain there is a cheaper way, but I'm not all that confident in digging around in there, even if it only involves lifting the coil unit and replacing the tray. I don't have real good access to the area to monkey around and figure out how do the job.

Anyway, thanks for all the input. This is a great forum.

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