Drain Pan

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Old 07-15-13, 12:24 PM
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Drain Pan

Hello everyone~

I have a Goodman central AC system installed horizontally in the attic .

During the summer i see a lot of water drain thru the plumbing attached to the drain pan. However i believe this is not normal. For two reasons one, the water is rusty and two i think it comes thru a crack between the furnace and the air handler and not thru a proper drain pipe. I dont know if this is how the system is supposed to operate or there is something wrong... to me it doesnt look right especially since there is rust in the water. Also the amount of water is too much and the pan is usually full as the plumbing is at a higher level of the pan. Overall very poor installation job. BTW the drain pan is not clogged as once the water reaches the certain level in the pan, it does drain thru the pipe.

Pls advise how i should tackle this? I'm usually handy and can do troubleshooting but wanted to seek advise before opening the panels.
 
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Old 07-15-13, 01:02 PM
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I'm confused. In the first sentence of the second paragraph, you say that you see a lot of water drain thru the plumbing attached to the drain pan. In the third sentence of the second paragraph, you state that the water comes thru a crack between the furnace and the air handler and not thru the drain pipe. So, where does most of the water drain from the pan, thru the drain tube or thru the crack?

The condensate from the evaporator drips into the pan and when it reaches the level of the drain pipe, it's supposed to drain through the pipe either directly into a drain, or into a condensate pump which pumps the condensate into a drain. If the water is draining into the pipe, that is normal operation.
 
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Old 07-15-13, 02:17 PM
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So the water drips thru the crack into the pan and once the water level is high enough it drains out thru the drain pipe attached to the pan. Does that make sense?
 
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Old 07-15-13, 02:45 PM
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All depends on whether this is the primary or secondary drain. If you only have one pipe leading away from the coil...you probably only have one pan. If you have 2, then it seems the primary is blocked.

Common for the secondary to be installed below and outside the coil...so it sounds like the primary is just blocked and letting the level inside rise enough to drip out a joint.
 
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Old 07-15-13, 02:57 PM
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Thanks, if i open the panel would i be able to make it out and determine if there is a clog?
 
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Old 07-15-13, 03:05 PM
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Sure....a shop vac or an air compressor will usually clear it. Do you have 2 pipes? I have seen where sometimes the primary and the secondary share the same drain pipe...though I think that complicates troubleshooting.
 
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Old 07-15-13, 03:07 PM
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I'd have to check, unfortunately its scorching hot up there right now.
 
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Old 07-15-13, 03:17 PM
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Tell me about it.....104 right now...no way would I go in my attic w/o a chill suit of some sort.
 
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Old 07-15-13, 07:31 PM
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Pls see these images, see them at least 50% so you can see the text in the first img.

basically, the pipe going into the unit directly leads to that the funnel looking drain (2nd img) and I dont think any water comes out of it. All the water is dripping thru the crack where the 2 units attach (where the white warning label is 3rd img) into the pan and has separate drain pipe attached to the pan. As you can see it looks rusty. I should be seeing water in the pan only if the coil is icing or something, right? I'm afraid the body is rusting inside.







 
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Old 07-16-13, 03:49 AM
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It appears to me that the condensate should be coming out of the pipe that is directly connected to the cover around the evaporator (first image where you say "no water thru this pipe"). Have you checked to see if the pipe is blocked? Either connect a shop vac to the end of the pipe, or try to "snake" a wire up the pipe to break up any obstruction. My guess is that you'll find an obstruction and that when you remove it, the condensate will start coming out the pipe and drain into the funnel. BTW, where does the funnel go to? It should connect to either a drain (if it's above the drain), or to a condensate pump which will pump it into a drain.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 04:33 AM
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I'm very surprised you have a condensing furnace installed in an attic in New Jersey. I'm not sure how old the install is, but I hope they took some measure to protect the furnace drain system from freezing during cold weather.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 05:36 AM
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Should i be snaking it from the furnace end or is that hooked up internally such that i cant access it? In which chase i'd have to snake it from the funnel end which to me doesnt seem logical.

I'm not sure where the funnel piping goes, it's hard to see beyond that point as its all covered with fiber glass and access is not quite available. It might go to the drain in the bathroom below it. The second pipe (which i think is the outlet for the drain pan pipe) leads to an outlet outside the house.. basically a small pipe hanging from the roof soffit which i got extended to my roof gutter as the yellow condensate water was splashing all over making a mess.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 05:39 AM
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@hvactechfw - I'm not sure what's allowed and what's not but overall to me it looks like a poor design/ installation job. It's only 7yrs old and at the time i bought the house i didnt know anything about furnaces and didnt even go on the attic
 
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Old 07-16-13, 06:12 AM
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Trying to clean the pipe with a shop vac is the easiest way. You would put the vac hose on the end of the pipe that goes into the funnel (you'll probably need to make some sort of adapter to reduce the size of the vac hose to match the pipe. If you want to snake it, you can start at either end. If you want to start at the furnace end, you'll need to remove the access panel around the evaporator (assuming you have an access panel).

As Gunguy45 stated earlier, you have 2 pans. The primary is the one below the evaporator (inside the furnace panels). This one has the pipe leading to the funnel. The secondary pan is the rusty one that's "out in the open". It's there to catch any condensate, should the primary drain get clogged (which I believe is what's happened). Ideally, the primary drain should be cleaned and made operational again. If you don't and the secondary drain (one connected to rusty pan) clogs, you'll have a wet floor.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 10:00 AM
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one Q. could you tell me what that other short pipe which is capped off is? Could that be used for cleaning purposes?

I was thinking of asking a HVAC vendor to come out and perform an annual maintenance, do you know if the preventive maintenance would include cleaning/unclogging the drain pipes and would they resolve this issue or do they charge separately for this? If it's included i'd rather just have it done thru them this time.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 10:37 AM
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They may do it just for goodwill....maybe. What the other stub pipe is, I dunno.

After I finally looked at the pics...it appears I see use of duct tape on some of the lines and ducts? Just so you know...the grey cloth duct tape has many uses...but HVAC systems are not one of them. You need the foil tape to seal air leaks and such.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 11:07 AM
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So the preventive maintenance doesn't typically include cleaning drain pipes?

Interesting, duct tapes are not to be used for ducts... i thought that was the main use if not the only use of the duct tapes... i do have foil tape which i had purchased for the dryer vent but never really used it.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 12:24 PM
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Nope...regular grey cloth duct tape is totally wrong for HVAC uses.

The maintenance will normally include checking overall system operation, temps, filters, cleanliness of coils, etc...but not any repairs or corrective procedures.

I personally am not a fan of "check ups" as they always seem to find something that needs fixing. Even the act of connecting gauges can cause leaks later on...and of course that "isn't their fault".

Almost 100% of the standard checks can be done by the homeowner with simple tools and an hour or so of your time, if you have basic DIY skills and tools.

All that said...an honest company can be a great resource. If they immediately start telling you "Oh, this is an old unit and could fail anytime" they are just trying to upsell you. If they say "Wow, this system is in great shape and should last 10 more years"...well...you know what I mean.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 02:51 PM
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Update:

Yesterday the weather was nice so i decided to open the panel for the evaporator and take a look inside. To my surprise I came across the most bizarre thing.

take a look at these images:





The second image is a shot from the inside, of the pan below the coil. As you see the only hole which is there is actually aligned to the pipe which is capped off not the drain pipe. Now unless that plastic piece his hollow from inside there is no way that water is going anywhere but to overflow and drip in the secondary pan (which is what is happening). This is the most f***d up thing i've ever seen... to me it looks like they put they capped off the wrong pipe.

But maybe i could be wrong so let me ask the experts here, is this how its done? Do you think that black plastic piece is really hallow? If the plastic is indeed hollow then there is a clog some where (but i find that hard to believe) and even then why on earth would you install it like this. What do you guys suggest?
 
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Old 07-26-13, 03:37 PM
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It is piped correctly but it looks like the knockout was never removed.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 04:15 PM
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which knockout, can you expand on that?
 
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Old 07-26-13, 04:49 PM
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OK.... the lower of the 2 pipes is always the primary drain connection. The higher is a secondary which can be run in case the primary plugs up. Some pans come with multiple drain connections and the knockout behind the connection must be knocked out before use. It looks like yours was never done.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 04:52 PM
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You need to cut and remove the pipe from the connection and remove the knockout. Put the pipe back together by gluing in a union.
 
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Old 07-27-13, 07:18 AM
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Thank you.

I think I conceptually understand what you're saying. But let me sure if that's the case. You're saying there is a knockout in the circled area and that's what i need to knock out? SO in the current scenario the water is not going anywhere correct since the hole is not knocked out for the pipe thats actualyl attached to the drain pipe?



While I do see a somewhat darkened area there not sure if that's really meant for knockout? Also, how do you knock it out? Do you poke it thru from the outside or do I have to remove the black plastic piece? Also all the fittings are glued including the elbow to the T etc. not sure how I can just cut and replace just the upper piece going into the pan without having to replace the whole thing.

My thought was to remove the capped pipe and put a new pipe going all the way to the funnel (refer to my earlier images), that would be the easiest approach. But you pointed out thats a secondary drain as its higher? From the outside though both pipes appear at same level.
 
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Old 07-27-13, 08:13 AM
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IF you remove the pipe you should be able to tell if there is a knockout. IF there is no knockout then it is a factory defect and the hole should have been opened at the factory.

To me it looks as though there is plenty of room between the 3/4" mpt adapter and the elbow to cut directly in the middle and glue in a union where you made the cut. However, I am not there to tell that for sure but from your pictures that is what I see.

Using the capped pipe as the drain will still leave water in the drain pan which can cause mold/mildew problems.
 
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Old 07-29-13, 08:31 AM
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This weekend I was able to take care of this. Basically did what hvactechfw suggested. there indeed was a knockout (still cant believe the installer ignored such basic but such critical step in the installation). Hopefully this should take care of the problem, will see.

I sincerely want to thank the moderators and everyone who contributed in this thread. This is a great forum!!!
 
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