Replacing Primary AND Secondary Drip Pans on A/C Unit. Help!


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Old 05-29-13, 06:48 PM
J
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Replacing Primary AND Secondary Drip Pans on A/C Unit. Help!

My mom's A/C unit is in her attic. Her primary drip pan (under the evaporator coils) ties into the sewer line and her secondary pan (under the whole unit) has a high-level switch. Starting a few years ago, her secondary drain pan started filling up pretty regularly, shutting the unit off. In between wet-vacuuming the water out and ensuring the primary drain line was clear, I noticed a crack in the primary pan, near the fitting for the drain line. One JB Weld job and one Epoxy job later, the pan started leaking more quickly than ever. It's possible that the primary pan isn't even level, as I see it leaking from several spots now.

Well recently, her secondary pan rusted through and she can't run her unit or she'll get water in the attic. Although her unit is 15-20 years old, the last tech who visited said her evaporator coils looked good.

So, first order of business is to replace the secondary pan. It sits on some plywood on top of the ceiling joists. The air handler sits on top of two cinder blocks inside the secondary drip pan. Could you guys give me some pointers on how exactly to get the unit lifted to swap the secondary pans? Is it necessary to disconnect everything?

As for the primary pan, any pointers on replacing it? I can't remember if it's integral to the coils but I don't think it is.

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-29-13, 08:28 PM
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The secondary pan shouldn't be too hard to replace. It would seem that maybe the pan leveling needs to be reset. You don't want standing water in it. Standing water = rust.

Two things.....
We can't help you on the primary pan without a make and model of your unit. I would think that replacing the primary pan is not an easy job.

You should be able to lift the air handler up enough to remove the secondary pan. How to lift it could be a problem. If you posted a pic or two of the air handler and area we might have some suggestions for you.
 
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Old 05-30-13, 05:01 AM
J
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The secondary pan shouldn't be too hard to replace. It would seem that maybe the pan leveling needs to be reset. You don't want standing water in it. Standing water = rust.

The secondary pan was never equipped with a drain, so even if it was level, it would hold water until the level switch tripped the unit and I cleared it out. I think part of the issue may be that the primary drain isn't level, not funneling water the it's drain and allowing it into the secondary. At the time I noticed the secondary pan was rusted through, I was actually in the process of putting a drain on it, simply to avoid having to pack the shop vac up there for the short remainder of the unit's life.

Two things.....
We can't help you on the primary pan without a make and model of your unit. I would think that replacing the primary pan is not an easy job.

You should be able to lift the air handler up enough to remove the secondary pan. How to lift it could be a problem. If you posted a pic or two of the air handler and area we might have some suggestions for you.

I'll see about getting the make/model and a photo up soon.

Thanks!


Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ai...#ixzz2UmCDwZzw
 
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Old 06-12-13, 08:24 AM
J
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Thanks for the help PJ, but the job is since complete.

We ended up keeping the primary pan since the unit is so old and only replaced the secondary. There is a rafter centered above the unit (not a coincidence, I'm sure). So I was able to use a regular ratchet strap around the plenum to lift the unit a few inches and replace the secondary pan. Since I fully expect the primary pan to continue to leak, I had the guy who made the pan solder a 3/4" nipple to it. I piped-up the secondary pan to the drain from the primary pan and put the float switch back in place in case the drain line stops up. Did the whole job myself. Mom's been staying cool for 2 weeks now.
 
 

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