Solving condensate line/overflowing issues


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Old 06-20-20, 04:28 PM
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Solving condensate line/overflowing issues

I looked up at the ceiling on my second floor the other day and noticed it was wet. The condensate line clogged last year so I kind of know what to expect. I should also say, I'm coming around to the fact that I'm going to need to replace this entire system soon. It didn't hold pressure when I had a company out to inspect it several years ago, I don't know how it's held out this long. I'm deciding between just replacing the condenser (where I assume the leaks are, but it's r22) or the entire system (but I'm dreading the air handler/attic portion of the job).

I'm going to at least start to handle the problem tomorrow. I bought a drain clearing gun this time (it sucked last year trying to figure out how to snake the 3/4" pvc with sharp 90s) and tablets that should deal prevent/deal with the scum buildup over the next several months.

I'm start this thread off of memory because I want to have game plan going up there. Crawling around my attic to deal with this sucks, no room to stand up, crawling around in fiberglass, no room to stand, it's hot.

I attached a picture of the air handler that I took several years ago when I renovating the system (and installing attic insulation). Unfortunately, I can't find the model number, I'm going to get it tomorrow.

Anyway,

1. Inside of the air handler there is no real drip pan. It's lined in fiberglass that's saturated with water and then sort of drains out of the PVC (but the fiberglass stays saturated), is that normal?

2. Since the air handler draws air in (and all openings need to be taped so as not to suck in attic air/dust)...does that mean that air currently gets sucked in from the outside through the drain line?

3. I'm considering adding a full drip pan underneath the unit. Since it doesn't seem to be designed for it, would it be worth it?

4. Last year I installed a condensate overflow switch, so I didn't think I would have this issue again (at least not without the A/C shutting off), but clearly something isn't working properly (again, I'm going to investigate tomorrow).

5. If I replace the entire system, is replacing the attic unit going to be be as bad as I fear? I want to tell the HVAC company we would hire that I would handle the attic portion of the job to 1. keep costs in check and 2. because I don't trust anyone else to minimize damage/repairs/insulation work/etc. and not be tracking crap through my house. I would invest in HVAC press or crimp jaws for the copper portion of the job.

Thank you



 
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Old 06-20-20, 04:35 PM
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If the air handler is R-22...... replace the entire system.

There are two drain lines on an air handler. One is always lower than the other. The lower drain is the primary drain. The upper drain is the overflow. Connecting them together like you have there is wrong. It's not always easy to see but one drain is lower. The idea is when the lower drain clogs..... water comes out the upper drain. In your case.... the float should be on the upper drain and it should not be connected.
 
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Old 06-20-20, 04:55 PM
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Yeah, I couldn't imagine them being piped together was correct. Now I have to decide if I struggle to add a second drain tomorrow or not...I probably won't though with the goal being to replace the system in the fall and add it when I have more room to work.

But the fiberglass sitting in the condensation/water on bottom of the pan is normal?
 
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Old 06-20-20, 04:59 PM
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No.... there should be nothing in the condensate pan but water.
You don't need to run a second line. Disconnect the secondary drain and use it for a float switch only.
Clean the primary drain. One way that many people clean the line is to suck it out from the outside.
 
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Old 06-20-20, 05:06 PM
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Ty, I'll take a lot more pictures tomorrow.

And I understand, I guess I bought/installed the wrong type switch. Rather than threading into the drain port it clamped on to the side of the drip pan. Will know more about the issue tomorrow.
 
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Old 06-20-20, 05:08 PM
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That type of switch is used if you have a second drip pan underneath your air handler.
You want something more like in the link. With this type of switch.... it could be removed and a few cups of bleach and hot water could be poured in to flush the pan.
Float switch
 
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Old 06-22-20, 04:54 PM
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So the air handler model is FB4ANA036. From what I can tell this is a 3-ton air handler? Using the sizing guide here, https://hvacdirect.com/sizing-air-co...nd-heater.html, I was thinking I would only need a 1.5 ton system (for an approximately 1000 sq ft area). Have things changed in 40 years (something I found googling said 1982) or was this just installed way oversized? A little more information about the system, there (6) supply ducts and only (1) 2'x2' return on the second floor (at the top of the stairs) - There is lots of positive pressure in the bedrooms lol.

Anyway the leak seems to be from the bottom of the plastic drain pan, it must be cracked :/ glad I've come around to a new system...temporarily I just bent some aluminum flashing I had as a drip tray and have it (more) safely dripping into a 5 gallon bucket in the closet through the access hatch.

 
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Old 06-22-20, 08:29 PM
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Can't comment on the chart as we don't know where you live.

I would agree that 3 ton seems a little large.
I'd probably go with a 2 ton system.

The size of the system needed is based on heat load.
If you're going to have the system installed get a free quote with proper sizing.
 
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Old 06-23-20, 04:38 AM
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I live in Bergen County, NJ, so the green area according to the sizing guide (https://hvacdirect.com/sizing-air-co...nd-heater.html) (although I'm sure you're aware of it being from "Northern NJ" lol

I think I'm going to do the job myself in the fall (other than the reclaiming and adding of refrigerant).
 
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Old 06-23-20, 06:22 AM
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Hi, I would say good luck installing it yourself and having some else charge it, better find someone willing to do that before you do the work.
Geo
 
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Old 06-23-20, 08:37 AM
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Lol yeah I was wondering how big of an issue would that be...I feel like there's gotta be someone willing to make money doing it (in the off season). I also probably know someone who would do it through my job as a fire sprinkler contractor.
 
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Old 06-23-20, 01:13 PM
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It's more than a DIY job. It requires some specialized tools, a pump, nitrogen and gauges.
 
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Old 06-23-20, 03:09 PM
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If your immediate problem is a leaking drip pan that aluminum flashing won't correct you may wish to check this link. https://www.repairclinic.com/PartDet...-75102/4869099 .
Personally I quit working HVAC units in attics years ago, regardless I would be critical of spending time and money on an old R-22 system that may have condenser issues as well. BTW, enter your model number yourself to confirm it is in fact the part you need. The one comment/review left is confusing.
 
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Old 06-23-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PJmax
It's more than a DIY job. It requires some specialized tools, a pump, nitrogen and gauges.
But that's the evacuating and refilling part, right? That I'll find someone to do it.. And there has to be some price they would do it for, even if it's way overcharging for the refill service.

But installing the units themselves and soldering a couple of connections doesn't seem bad. I've never solder copper pipe before but I'm an adept electronics solderer and youtube couldn't make it look easier! lol I'm excited to give it a shot. Other than the attic portion that sucks because of working conditions, the rest of job seems pretty easy...

Originally Posted by fastback
If your immediate problem is a leaking drip pan that aluminum flashing won't correct you may wish to check this link. https://www.repairclinic.com/PartDet...-75102/4869099 .
Personally I quit working HVAC units in attics years ago, regardless I would be critical of spending time and money on an old R-22 system that may have condenser issues as well. BTW, enter your model number yourself to confirm it is in fact the part you need. The one comment/review left is confusing.
TY, I thought about replacing the drip pan, but the amount of work it would take does not seem worth it. The flashing "drip funnel" is a sufficient temporary solution for this season and seems pretty stable up there. I just have to remember to empty the bucket daily. And yeah, after seeing the condition of the attic unit (in addition to the outside condenser that I knew was in bad shape) I'm going to replace the entire system in the fall.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 06:40 AM
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Soggy pink insulation has to go. I understand those helping you on this site are far more qualified than I. However, I donít understand why there is wet insulation lying in the drainage sump area. This needs to be resolved or you will continue to have condensation drainage issues. This pan needs to be relatively clean so water can flow to the drain.

I would resolve this first, then work on clearing blockages in the drain line. This year. You can deal with whether to replace the system later, fix drainage now.

Am I missing something here?
 
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Old 06-24-20, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by clancy
Soggy pink insulation has to go. I understand those helping you on this site are far more qualified than I. However, I don’t understand why there is wet insulation lying in the drainage sump area. This needs to be resolved or you will continue to have condensation drainage issues. This pan needs to be relatively clean so water can flow to the drain.

I would resolve this first, then work on clearing blockages in the drain line. This year. You can deal with whether to replace the system later, fix drainage now.

Am I missing something here?
That ended up being me not remembering things perfectly since last summer. There is a plastic drip tray inside of the unit (that's "clean") but after it either after it flooded or possibly was cracked last year, water was getting underneath it in to the insulation lining of the air handler. I ended up finding another spot leaking last night, so I bought a 60" x 30" x 2" galvanized drip pan that I'm going to put underneath the unit (and pipe to the exterior of the house) for the rest of the summer.

There is small 48" x 27" pan I would like to use, but my current air handler (and carrier units in general) appear to by 50" long.
 
 

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