loose drain pan for unit AC


  #1  
Old 10-11-08, 09:50 AM
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loose drain pan for unit AC

I have central AC; the component inside my apartment hangs over the entry hallway. Recently the drain pan came loose and now water is spilling into the hallway. I taped it up with electrical tape and it lasted for a few days, but it keeps getting loose.

I have two questions/issues:

1. How are the drain pans attached to the AC unit, and what's the best way to repair it? Would some sort of superglue work?

2. I'm in hot and humid Miami. I'll be leaving the apartment for a few weeks, and nobody will be here, so I was thinking the safest bet would be to just turn off the AC while I'm gone. I'm worried about whether this would negatively impact the apartment (it gets very hot in here without the AC, and I'm worried about humidity and mold). Should I be worried at all?
 
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Old 10-11-08, 12:40 PM
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if the pan i under the AC unit it is catching the over flow from the unit condensate pan which must be blocked up.if you have no white plastic piping coming from the pan that is tipped it is a safty pan only.you need to pop the cover on the fan section and clear the muck out(of the pan inside) so it flows into the piping hooked up to the unit..with this you won't need to do anything with the emergency pan...just dry it out with newpapers for now..........but get that unit condensate pan flowing with cups of water and clear the line.i am giving you a run down as if i am standing looking at the unit... hope it helps.
 
  #3  
Old 10-11-08, 01:44 PM
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auxiliary drain pan

Yes this is probably an auxiliary pan and if it has water in it your main pan in your unit is either not draining or it has a hole in it. Follow the main drain from your air conditioner to see where it goes, if you can find the termination (and hopefully it is outside your house) put a shop vac on the pipe if you have one and see if you can clear the line, you will know if a whole bunch of water comes running out. If a normal amount or no water comes out your drain pan has probably failed and unless you have some kind of warranty you will probably need a new coil or air handler. aif you do clear the line and it starts flowing water freely then you need to clear your auxiliary pan, rehang it and there should also be a safety float switch to shut off the unit if any water gets in that pan.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 02:07 PM
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thanks

Thanks for the suggestions. It's the main (and only pan), there's a drain line with trap running from it into the wall. Unfortunately around here the municipal code doesn't allow me to pipe it directly outside.

There probably is a blockage, which I think I can clear out (I've been neglecting to put bleach in the pan).

The problem is the pan itself, probably because the weight of all that water, has come loose and I don't know how to reattach it. I don't even know how it used to be attached, though the whole unit is covered with that silvery tape.

Right now even if the drain was clear the angle of the now-semi-detached drain pan probably means water would still spill.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 04:48 PM
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OK so this pan hangs under the AC unit and is piped out..and the water from the unit drips into this pan from the coils condensate pan inside the unit?did you ever confirm the neighbors unit to see if its the same as yours,normal units have the unit piped as your pan is and the emergency pan is piped to the same line below the trap and use the same common run out.hows about this suggestion.......get a piece of rope and tie it around the unit and adjust it so it catches the bottom of the pan or get a scrap piece of wood and pinch it under the low end to level it off.the pan sounds pretty shallow so this is why it was taped and not screwed in with brackets...a gallon of water weighs in at 8.2LBS if you can get the water to run out that line trapped....your tape would hold till a permenant fix can happen.I HATE TELLING somebody this fix but here it goes....... get something you can blow into about 2' long and that will slide into the drain out on the pan opening .......take a tissue and soak it in water then wrap it around the end of the tube before going into the drain opening ......push it tight on the opening take a DEEP breath and blow into it that will clear the trap and pour some water into the pan and push it towards the hole to run the drain out.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 04:58 PM
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Without a picture, I don't think we can figure out how your pan/unit installed. You said loose, in fact the pan is only served as a place to collect the water, it doesn't need to be attached. usually the AC unit just sit on the top or inside of the pan, they don't tie them together. You also said it is covered by silvery tape, that is not right, the pan should not be covered by anything. So, are you talking about a different pan ?????
 
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Old 10-11-08, 11:37 PM
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Ok a picture is attached. Might be a little confusing, but the black thing is the drain pan (it's wrapped in foam). As far as I can tell it's situated right under the coil.

Checking with the neighbor won't do much, it's an old building that predates air conditioning, so I believe each unit has it's own different system.

The one problem with some sort of twine or rope is that there's nothing really I can find to loop it around on top.

Sminker: thank you for the gross advice, actually that's exactly what I was planning on doing, I've cleared out blockages before with plastic tubing and while I have to psych myself up to do it (I'm kind of worried I'll actually breathe in, and with the trap empty get some sewer gas) I should be able to do it.

 
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Old 10-12-08, 07:12 AM
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I can see it now. the black pan is your primary pan (usually we don't call it a pan), you don't have a (secondary) pan, it is another pan under your black pan, that one we call it 'pan'. the primary pan (or box I should say) is usually enclosed in the air handler and we don't see it from outside. Anyway, from the set up in the picture, all you have to do is disconnect the drain pipe (around the area patched with a couple of silvery tapes) and use an air compressor to blow the pipe (downward) open. use air compressor is the professional way to clean the drain pipe. If your drain pipe is not clogged, only the black pan leak, then you can use some water proof patch to patch the leak area from inside (super glue may work, best use the kind patch the swimming pool). So, once your pan is fixed and the drain pipe is cleared out, you should be OK..
 
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Old 10-12-08, 07:23 AM
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what a mouse trap looking set-up.....that is the main condensate pan for the cooling coil.if ceiling tiles go just below the pan you can support it there or install shelf brackets at both ends off that wall to catch the bottom of the pan.that trap is pretty general type but works on the principle of the pan being level or slightly slanted towards that plastic drain line.perfect thing for the clean out so you dont have to tube it is to get a fish tank brush at a pet store that you can push in there and it will bend around and thru the trap and push all that gunk out...they sell packs of 3 real thin .then a plastic bottle with a plastic(used to water hangng plants thing) tube so you can put the tube up into the pan (narrow as shown) and squeeze the water into the pan to cycle the traps brush out.try to get the water into the far end of the condensate pan so any future stuff will wash down to that pipe connection and get it before it goes into the trap.this line probably goes just to the outside and not to the sewer lines(code violation on residential installs)
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:24 AM
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ok

Thanks again for the advice guys, I'll give your suggestions a shot regarding clearing out clogs in the pipe. I think the air thing will work better than a pipe cleaner simply because after the drain line leaves the pan, it makes a complete 90 degree turn, making the trap a little difficult to reach.

I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to reattach the pan, however. The way it's positioned relative to the walls and ceiling, there's no real way to set up any sort of shelving, and the pan's bottom is several inches above the ceiling tile lattice. Is there some sort of bonding agent that would work?
 
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Old 10-12-08, 09:08 AM
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The black pan tilt to the right so the water can flow to the drain pipe. Isn't this the original design ? If you know the black pan is loose (down at the right side), and you want put it up a little, all you have to do is push it up and then use small matel screw nail it into the box from outside (remove foam first, screw it in from the side, put the foam back, you can seal the screw if you want to with some glue, but it is not necessary since the nail hole is at the side, not at the bottom)
wonder how the pan was attached originally ?? when you nail the pan, make sure you don't damage the coils or anything inside the box. Good luck to you.
 
 

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