Leaky mess/need answer asap before spending big $

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Old 10-04-12, 05:06 AM
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Leaky mess/need answer asap before spending big $

I have a 3.5 ton variable speed X15 Trane installed 6/07 that is leaking like crazy.

This leaking problem seems to be a recurring thing the past year or so. Usually, when I vacuum the drain it seems ok, for awhile anyway. This time I vacuumed the drain pipe and sucked a good bit of water out but, the water does not recede. Both the drain pipe and safty switch have water in them causing it to drip. I have towles stuffed around the pipe and on the floor.

I change filters on a regular basis and the unit is serviced every year.

In April this year they replaced a bad contactor, bad capacitor and bad hard start.

In Nov/11 the tech did some kind of adjustment on the pipe (I think he cut and added a fitting or something) and said if it continues to leak it would need a condenser pump (which is very costly and could also be noisy).

Is this condenser pump my only option, and how noisy are these things?

By the way, I still have that oil leak I posted about 7/09 where the copper tubing connects to the air handler. I stuff paper towels around that.

Appreciate any response before I call for repair.
Thanks,
Jo
 
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Old 10-04-12, 02:08 PM
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Jo, a condensate pump will run between $30 and $70, depending on your supplier. Here's one at big orange that should fit your needs. Search Results for condensate pump at The Home Depot Where does your condensate void itself presently? Do you have a floor drain? Condensate pumps run for about 10 seconds, very quietly, to evacuate collected water in the pump. It is sent to the outside of your house.
 
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Old 10-04-12, 04:43 PM
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Hi Chandler, Thanks for responding. The water drains through pc pipe that runs along side the AC, goes into the wall in the laundry room, down that wall and outside under concrete walkway near front door. After posting this morning I attached the vac to the outside pipe and let it run for about 15-20 min. It sucked out some more water and (fingers crossed) has been ok since. I also keep a small basin inside the air return as that is where a lot of water leaks. It was half-full this morning with about 1/2 gal or more of water.

The price I got from my AC guy was quite a few hundred dollars and is not covered by extended warranty, he said it made noise but did not say what kind or how loud.

Do these pumps run every time the AC comes on?

For now, I will keep an eye on it and vacuum more often. I'll double check with my AC guy to find out why his price is so high.

Thanks again,
Jo
 
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Old 10-05-12, 03:52 AM
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They work like a toilet. When the box fills with condensate, the pump activates to evacuate the water from the box. Maybe 10 seconds or so. If the pan is filling with water, you have an obstruction most likely where it turns and goes down. Can you post a picture of your air handler and where this exits?
 
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Old 10-05-12, 06:37 AM
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If your drain pipe was installed right, there is no need to use a pump unless the water level is lower than the output. As mentioned, a picture will help.
 
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Old 10-05-12, 09:16 AM
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Truth be told, I do not have a camera phone, and I think my last camera was a Polaroid. I'll see if I can work on that.

So far, since I vacuumed yesterday, it is not filling up and the dishpan in the air return is dry.

It appears to leak where the safety switch connects to the handler. There are no noticeable bends on that fitting unless it is on the inside of the handler.

Regarding the drain pipe to outside, there were never any issues with the old AC. Also, there were no problems when the new AC was first installed. The new air handler is larger than the old one, is there a possibility that the opening are lower changing the pitch?

Somehow, I feel the issue is the small area around the saftey switch and not the section of pipe going outside.

I just don't understand why there is a problem with it now when there was none before.
 
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Old 10-05-12, 02:37 PM
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If your exit piping is lower than the air handler, then you won't need a condensate pump at all. I believe your vacuuming the pipe cleared some crud that was causing a back up into the pan. With it clear, you should have a semi dry pan and free flowing condensate. My first impression was that it was draining low into a floor drain, and your grade was high. Should have looked at your profile and I would have seen you don't have a basement . Keep your condensate pipe clean. Is there a crooked pipe associated with the drain? It is just a low half loop, similar to a ptrap in a sink. You will have crud accumulate there. You should also have a cap on a vertical pipe which you can remove and pour a small amount of bleach in every month to help keep it free running.
 
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Old 10-06-12, 12:15 PM
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Hi Chandler,

There is no loop in the pipe just the elbow fittings for turns. Working on the picture for you. It looked as though there may have been some algae (clear, not green) starting in the saftey switch fitting. I do have the removalable cap, that's where I can see the water buildup but it has never leaked at that fitting. That's why I think it has something to do with the saftey switch hookup behind the handler. I don't know what, or how, it's connected to since I can't see behind there. I'm not even sure if that saftey switch was always there.

I get different answers as to what to pour in that pipe to keep it clear. I was using bleach than I was told to use the blue pan tabs mixed with water, then peroxide, then nothing at all. Different stokes for difference folks I guess. Right now I am using liquid algae control, you only need a few drops mixed in water.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 04:13 AM
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I'm just a painter but I like to use bleach because it's cheap and effective. The thing is though, bleach can deteriorate metal so it's best to not let it get on the pan. If you do, rinsing it with water will alleviate the danger. An old spray bottle usually works fine. For clogs near one end or the other, a straightened out coat hanger works well at breaking up any clogs that are within reach.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 08:21 AM
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Where is this pan you mention, should I be able to see or access it?
 
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Old 10-07-12, 10:02 AM
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Jo Ann, you keep mentioning a safety switch.....that should be set in a pan where water collects. Do you know what that safety switch connects to?? since you don't have a condensate pump, it may not be connected to anything.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 11:51 AM
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Hi Chandler,

Without taking the panel off it's hard to tell what, if anything it connects to. I took a peek under the a/c air return, it's pretty open but the sides look like everything is closed in, so I doubt there is a pan there. Maybe it's more tube-like (?).

I went online to look up Trane and there were a LOT of complaints about the company and their products. People are spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on repairs and service charges.

It will certainly give me pause on replacement if this one starts costing big bucks to repair. So far, the extended warranty has covered repairs and labor.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 12:51 PM
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I don't think people here really know how your AC is set up, or what the pan, switch, drain looks like. we are shooting in the dark now. If you can post a picture here, that will help a lot.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 01:01 PM
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Trane is no different than any other manufacturer. They all have complaints online. You can look up any manufacturer and find all kinds of complaints. The internet is a poor source for HVAC reviews. MOST all problems are due to poor installation and not the equipment brand.

There is an evaporator pan located in the air hanlder. There SHOULD be a secondary pan under the air handler. In good installations there will be a float switch or wet switch in the secondary pan under the air handler.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 06:13 PM
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Thanks everyone, working on getting a picture.
 
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Old 10-08-12, 09:34 AM
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Pictures would tell the whole story.

In the mean time one thing to check for is that there is a trap in the drain line to prevent pressure within the air handler from affecting drainage.

Should look something like this:

 
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Old 10-09-12, 03:19 PM
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picture

I have been having a problem getting the image into this post. I have used a code from my photo image on Image Shack to use when posting on forums or message boards. It does not seem to work here but I somehow managed to get it on the computer forum under how to post photos. This is the code I used.



Evidently, the code works when I send the post. Sorry it took so long. The old gray mare ain't what she use to be.
 

Last edited by Jo Ann; 10-09-12 at 03:21 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 10-09-12, 05:40 PM
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Here's your pic, only larger:

 
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Old 10-10-12, 02:19 AM
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Why is the condensate drain line insulated? What you have is similar in operation to that shown by Greg. If the pipe continuously drains the world is happy. If it backs up, water will enter the Safe-T-Switch and will supposedly activate a pump to evacuate the water, or shut down the system. I am not sure how yours is hooked up. Greg or Kevin will be along today to evaluate what type override you have.
 
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Old 10-10-12, 04:50 AM
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You originally said:
I vacuumed the drain pipe and sucked a good bit of water out but, the water does not recede.
Do you mean recede in the drain pan?
The drain pan is what collects the water, is under the cooling coil and is what the drain line is connected to.

You first need to shut off the breaker than controls the blower then remove the cover to gain access to the cooling coil.
Then carefully pour water into the drain pan to see if it drains.
If it doesn't then the drain line is blocked.

If it does drain when the cover is off but not when the a/c is operating it may be the lack of a trap in thew drain line like in the illustration.
Have you checked to see if there is a trap in the drain line?
 
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Old 10-10-12, 06:12 AM
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Your problem is probably where the line goes underground. Its probably sagging and causing a double trap or similar issue. I see this happen a couple of times a year. And as long as your tech was competent and cleaned out the line properly then he's probably right about the condensate pump.
 
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Old 10-10-12, 06:12 AM
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blow out drain

I just called the place that installed and services the AC to find out why the drain pipe is insulated. The person I spoke with said they do that with all installations because of condensation. I don't know if that is a Florida thing or what.

I think the safety switch is just to shut it down. If it was to activate a pump I don't think they would suggest a condensate pump.

Is the safety switch suppose to have any water in it? I notice there is a small amount of water still there.

Yes, I meant the water does not recede in the drain pipe.

I do not have access to the drain pan. The only thing I can remove without taking screws out of the handler panels is a filter thingy that is not used, the filter is behind the air return vent located in the living room.

There is no trap in the line unless it is behind the wall in the laundry where the drain pipe goes. I don't recall seeing anything like that when I was fixing the dryer vent that is in the same inside wall area.

I asked about access to the pan with the person I spoke with today, she seemed more interested in selling me a maintenance plan. She said my vacuuming didn't do as good a job as when maintenance is done by them because they blow something (I forget what she said it was) in the drain to clean it out. I have never seen them do anything like that or any notation on the service order they fill out.

Correction on the blow out drain, I just checked on service order s and this is a notation it was done.
 

Last edited by Jo Ann; 10-10-12 at 06:19 AM. Reason: add info
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Old 10-10-12, 01:30 PM
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I just checked on service order s and this is a notation it was done
Apparently not very well. If you paid for service and it is leaking, call them back out to correct the issue that the left for you.
 
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Old 10-10-12, 01:52 PM
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They also had the notation that if they had to come back for the same problem it may need the pump.

So far it has been ok since the vacuum job. I'll just keep a better check on it and vacuum more often.

I think I will have the guy show me the inside of the handler and find out what maintenance he does on the next checkup.
Thanks for your help.
 
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