Accessing condenser to resolve leak issue

Old 08-21-14, 09:26 AM
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Question Accessing condenser/pan/drain to resolve leak issue

(I'm not an HVAC guy and only a budding DIYer, so I apologize in advance if any of my terminology is inaccurate)

We recently moved into a new (to us) house built in 1984, and after running the AC a few days, this morning I awoke to water all over the basement floor (and in the bottom of the furnace - Armstrong Ultra II 80). I would say there were 2-3 gallons of water. The floor was dry last night, and I'm surprised that much water could be produced in 8 hours at night when the AC is running less. And yet there was no water leaked over the previous ~96 hours of AC usage.

When the house was inspected, the inspector mentioned water marks on the furnace, and there are water marks on the studs on the cement floor around the furnace, so I am guessing this is not a first-time problem.

I tested the drainage hose, and water flows through it with no problem. On a whim, I poked a stick into the drain plug back towards the pan, and clearly something was loosened because water came shooting out. So I think a plugged drain plug was the problem (but there could be other issues for all I know, like a cracked pan). And while I freed it for now, whatever I knocked loose is still in there, ready to flow back into the plug and clog it again.

So now I am wondering how to open up the ductwork around the condensor so that I can visualize the problem, and potentially clean out whatever object or mess is clogging the drain.

I only have about 6" of square duct before it branches into a much larger space. The horizontal seams seem to be covered with a large bent strap of metal, and I don't know if I can remove that, or if I can put it back properly. And the vertical edges of the ducting have another strip over them, so I don't see any of the four sides as "easy to open." I have attached pictures. It's 90 degrees and muggy in MN today, so my wife is quite eager for me to solve this problem.

Can someone walk me through how to open an access area (preferably on the side or back) to view and clean the pan and condenser, in such a way that I can close the access myself. I'm assuming this shouldn't need metal cutting, but maybe I am wrong. If I have to bend away the metal straps, are they meant to be bent back with enough tension?


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Last edited by zeiss; 08-21-14 at 09:32 AM. Reason: pictures?
Old 08-21-14, 10:49 AM
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P trap

Due to the way this is installed, I wouldn't recommend opening that up. Great pictures though, that helps alot. I would install a proper drain line. This set up will make for easy cleaning. BTW that is your evaporator coil, condenser is outside.
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Old 08-21-14, 08:23 PM
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That looks like the same exact way my evaporator was installed by my cousin. I haven't been brave enough to try to get to the coil. I clean the drain from the outside.

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