Condensate drain line question


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Old 06-04-10, 01:29 PM
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Condensate drain line question

Hello all,

I'm looking for some guidance as to why my primary condensate drain won't empty. We live in a split level ranch with the AC air handler living in the attic of the house. The primary somehow runs down from there and into the laundry room sink located in lower level of the house. We recently remodeled this area moving the washer drain outlet into it's own stand pipe. The AC condensate line however was not relocated to drain into this pipe. Instead the plan is to connect it on the fixture side of the p-trap to the new cabinet sink that will be installed. We cannot install the sink until the countertop is in so currently I have the condensate drain emptying into a bucket. As a temporary solution I tried to run some vinyl tubing from the drain to the standpipe about 5 feet way. The condensate drain is lower than the opening for the standpipe however I "thought" that since this opening was still lower the where the condensate pipe originates (20 feet up in the attic) the water would escape there before overflowing into my emergency drain pan underneath the air handler. It didn't work this way however as I found that my emergency drain was being used. After unhooking the tubing at the primary I noticed that a strong initial flow of water for a few seconds and it then stopped for a 5 seconds or so. Then there was some gurgling and then a final rush of water came out of the condensate drain pipe until it appeared to be full cleared.

So what I'm wondering is should my temporary drain contraption have worked? Is air somehow getting trapped in the condensate line that would block the water from being pushed into the standpipe? I'm a little baffled by this and monitoring this bucket is getting a bit old. If anyone has any ideas or ways I could get this temporary solution to work I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

Erik
 
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Old 06-04-10, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ispyder View Post
I have the condensate drain emptying into a bucket. As a temporary solution I tried to run some vinyl tubing from the drain to the standpipe about 5 feet way. The condensate drain is lower than the opening for the standpipe . . .

. . . So what I'm wondering is should my temporary drain contraption have worked? . . . If anyone has any ideas or ways I could get this temporary solution to work I would greatly appreciate it.
The weight of the water collecting in your condensate drain is not sufficient to overcome the effects of gravity caused by the upward incline from the condensate drain being lower than the standpipe.

Option #1. If your condensate line is PVC, I would cut it so that it could feed directly into the standpipe by eliminating the upward incline. Make sure, however, there is sufficient room to install a PVC coupling when your project is completed. If it’s copper, I would not cut it.

Option #2. Think of your bucket as a “collection basin” although you may need to get something taller. You want your condensate drain w/ the right length of vinyl tubing funneling the water into your “collection basin”. The “collection basin” must be something taller than your standpipe, and a hole (w/ a fitting to allow water to drain through) will be made near the top. As the water funnels into the “collection basin”, it will start collecting in it until it reaches the height of the hole. Think of it doing the same thing as a water reservoir and dam. As water from a stream (i.e., coming from condensate drain) fills a water reservoir (i.e., your “collection basin”), it comes to a certain height and then starts pouring over the dam (i.e. hole near top of “collection basin” so that it spills over into standpipe). I know a drawing would greatly simply what I’m trying to explain but maybe the concept gives you enough to work with.

The end of you condensate pipe (or condensate pipe w/ vinyl tubing ) must be higher than the hole in your “collection basin”. Otherwise, you’ll likely experience the same problem you’re trying to overcome. While you might have something that is taller than your bucket in which to collect water, it would be easier if it had a flat surface so that a PVC fitting will seal the hole to prevent water leaking out. You might be able to use PVC pipe & drain fittings as your “collection basin” if you don’t have something taller than a bucket to collect the water.
 
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Old 06-04-10, 08:48 PM
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the ideas, I appreciate it. I beleive I understand what your describing for both options however I don't think either will work in my situation. For option one, the drain pipe is copper and the only part exposed is the drain which comes out of the wall pretty low. For the second one, if I'm undertanding you properly, I would need a really tall collection basin (I think the opneing for the stand pipe is 3 feet off the ground by code). Even then I think I would still have the problem with the fact that the weight of the water in the condensate pipe wouldn't be enough to overcome gravity and push the water into the collection bucket. I think that is what your were trying to convey in your last paragraph. I've attached a simplistic picture of where the things are, if it's any help.

Thanks,

Erik

EDIT: Can't get the image link to work
 
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Old 06-05-10, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ispyder View Post
For option one, the drain pipe is copper and the only part exposed is the drain which comes out of the wall pretty low.
I agree w/ you. I would be very hesitant in cutting a copper pipe, and even if it had turned out to be PVC, space limitations seem to rule that out.

Originally Posted by ispyder View Post
For the second one, if I'm undertanding you properly, I would need a really tall collection basin (I think the opneing for the stand pipe is 3 feet off the ground by code)
From your OP, I was unclear how the 5 ft. of temporary vinyl tubing is connected to the condensate pipe. By clarifying, I think you're saying that the condensate pipe (excluding the vinyl tubing) is exiting the "wall pretty low" which is lower than the stand pipe. If my understanding is correct, then I agree option #2 won't work as the condensate pipe (w/o vinyl tubing) must be higher than the stand pipe.

The only other idea I can think of is going into the attic to see how this condensate pipe is connected to the air handler. If there is a fitting on the condensate pipe that could be removed fairly easily (again, I wouldn’t cut the copper pipe if soldered onto a permanent fitting), and space is not a limiting factor, then you might be able to install a temporary fitting, similar to the permanent one, but using a very long piece of vinyl tubing to reroute this line temporarily. To make this work in your laundry room, the temporary vinyl tubing would need to exit an opening that is taller than your stand pipe (e.g. a vent in that room). If there is no way to get the vinyl tubing to come out into this room, you might check a nearby room (or garage if close by) as this is only temporary while you work on your project.

Thinking beyond your immediate problem, do you expect no modification to the exising condensate pipe when connecting "it on the fixture side of the p-trap to the new cabinet sink that will be installed"? In other words, will the p-trap be lower than your existing condensate pipe?

This might help you w/ posting picture(s) as that would be a big help http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...your-post.html.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 09:13 AM
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Thanks Rob,

Yep, you've pretty much figured out the layout without much help from me. It sounds like I may be out of options at this point. With where the air handler is located and the layout of the house there really isn't any way to route the tubing down to the standpipe or into another drain. Plus it's a bit hot up in the attic right now so hanging out up there isn't one of my top things to do.

So in regards to your last question, that was something I was pondering myself. Trying to visualize, I think the p-trap would be lower than the condensate line. However the point at which the vinyl tubing running from the condensate drain will connect to the sink drain will be above the p-trap. The plumber suggested using a wye that would commonly be used on a dishwasher like this:. If there is an incline hopefully since it should be much less then the one I'm trying to overcome the water will get pushed out. Although I was wondered why the plumber didn't just end the condensate line a bit higher.

Thanks for the tips on posting pics. i was looking for some info on why it wasn't working but obviously I didn't look hard enough. Turns out I was using tinypic, which isn't allowed. I'll try it again to see if this works.

Again much appreciated!

Erik
 
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Old 06-05-10, 10:58 AM
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Hello Eric,

Having failed three times in finding a solution, I’ll go for one last Hail Mary.

After looking at your diagram, I forgot to ask whether the standpipe is PVC or metal. If PVC, there might be a solution. Please advise if PVC. If metal, no need to reply as I think it would be too time consuming.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 11:01 AM
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Adding a vent to the drainline in the attic should help.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 01:25 PM
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Rob - The standpipe is PVC but that is also now hidden behind a wall. The only access to the drain is through a washing machine outlet box.

Houston204 - Thanks for the suggestion. I think though there is one in the attic somewhere between the drain outlet off the air handler and where the drain pipe goes down towards the laundry room. I'll try to go up there and check when it cools down a bit.

Thanks!
 
 

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