Emergency Pan Keeps Filling Up

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  #1  
Old 08-08-09, 08:38 PM
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Emergency Pan Keeps Filling Up

We are not sure if this is something we can do ourselves, but I know we are asking in the right place!

Two weeks ago our emergency pan under our central A/C unit (it's in the attic) was full of water. It was about 1/2 inch from overflowing. We called the heating and air guy. He used a wet dry vac to suck out the water, and said the drain was clogged. He cleaned it out. A couple of days later we noticed the house was not as cool as we are used to it being, so we checked the pan, and it had water in it again. It was not as full as it had been, but more than we thought ought to be in the emergency pan. (We figured there should be NONE in the emergency pan.)

The air guy came back out and said the temperature differential was good. He checked the Freon as well, and it was good too. The second time he came he poured a cup of Clorox into the PVC drain coming out of the unit. He really had no explanation for why there was water in the pan again.

Tonight I had a hunch that we should check the pan again. It was about 1/2 inch from overflowing. My husband and I used our wet/dry vac to suck about 6 gallons of water out of the pan.

What can we do or check to see what the problem is?

Could there be a blockage further down the drain that the heating and air guy didn't get? I am not even sure what he used to clean the drain out the first time he came.

If we can't do this ourselves, should we call a plumber or the heating and air guy again? We would ask for a different tech to come out this time since this guy, while nice, hasn't corrected the problem.

Thanks for any help you can give.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-08-09, 08:45 PM
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yeah just suck the blockage out of the drain line with your vaccum cleaner. Then check for proper drainage by pouring some water into the primary drain line. If the primary drain is open you may find that you have a leak in the rpimary if so just replace it. You will also need to clear the drain for the secondary pan with your vaccum cleaner from the information you have provided so far.
 
  #3  
Old 08-09-09, 09:07 AM
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The pan is your secondary drain, there should be a pvc pipe connected to the pan to drain the water out. But you need to work on the primary drain which is another PVC pipe (may be insulated) goes into your plumbing system. You need to clear both pipes, primary and secondary. Try to vacuum them first, if that does not work, you need to call a tech to blow it out, they use high pressure compressor to do the job. At end, you should not see any water anywhere. You can use clorox to keep it clean, but not if it is clogged already
 
  #4  
Old 08-09-09, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by clocert View Post
The pan is your secondary drain, there should be a pvc pipe connected to the pan to drain the water out. But you need to work on the primary drain which is another PVC pipe (may be insulated) goes into your plumbing system. You need to clear both pipes, primary and secondary. Try to vacuum them first, if that does not work, you need to call a tech to blow it out, they use high pressure compressor to do the job. At end, you should not see any water anywhere. You can use clorox to keep it clean, but not if it is clogged already
So when you say that we need to call a tech if the vaccuming doesn't work, do you mean a plumbing tech? I am guessing the A/C guy doesn't have the equipment to do this or he would have already. Is that correct? Thanks for the info!
 
  #5  
Old 08-09-09, 11:04 AM
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By the way, that pan should have either 1) its own separate drain line that discharges to a location where you will notice that it's running, or 2) a cut-off switch that turns off the air-conditioning if the pan fills.
 
  #6  
Old 08-09-09, 11:34 AM
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Call A/C tech, tell him the drain is clogged so that he can bring the tools (air compressor and other tools) with him. Ask him on the phone first if he handle this type of problem. Most of them do. worst case they may have to cut the pipes.
 
  #7  
Old 08-11-09, 08:41 PM
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I just thought I would post what the problem was in case it helps someone else out in the future.

Our emergency pan kept filling up because the return unit in the attic wasn't level. The water from the unit wasn't going into the primary pan. It was pouring over (?) the unit and into the emergency pan.

We have absolutely no idea how that unit got to the point where it wasn't level. We don't live in earthquake country, so we know that couldn't be it. It couldn't have been that way for a very long time because the pan has only been filling up for the last couple of weeks.

Things were so wet in there that the insulation in the unit (not the pink stuff in the attic) was wet. That explains why our house was feeling so humid and therefore warmer.

We could tell a difference almost immediately after the tech corrected the problem by leveling the unit. He said it might take 48 hours to tell the full effect.

My husband checked today, and the pan is still empty.

Thanks for all of the help guys.

donna
 
  #8  
Old 08-12-09, 08:37 AM
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Glad to hear that your problem is fixed. Just one little doubt on your secondary/emergency pan. Even your primary drain/pan does not work, you should not see cumulated water in your secondary/emergency pan either. the water in there should be just drained out immediately via a PVC pipe conntected to the outside.
Anyway, even you don't have water in the emergency pan anymore because your primary is now working, but watch your secondary/emergency pan and make sure it drains OK and serves it's purpose.
 
  #9  
Old 08-12-09, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by clocert View Post
Glad to hear that your problem is fixed. Just one little doubt on your secondary/emergency pan. Even your primary drain/pan does not work, you should not see cumulated water in your secondary/emergency pan either. the water in there should be just drained out immediately via a PVC pipe conntected to the outside.
Anyway, even you don't have water in the emergency pan anymore because your primary is now working, but watch your secondary/emergency pan and make sure it drains OK and serves it's purpose.
Is it possible that because the unit was so far unbalanced that where the water drains from was not lined up with the PVC pipe that drains to the outside. Thanks for putting doubt in my mind about the problem being fixed.
 
  #10  
Old 08-12-09, 08:52 AM
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Simple test, just pour a bottle of water into the emergency pan and see if it drains.
 
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