A/C - heating system condensate questions

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Old 05-07-19, 08:29 PM
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A/C - heating system condensate questions

First the question: With an attic-mounted air handler system, is it normal OR desirable for the primary condensate tray to maintain some level of water in the tray? Can I alter the mounting of the air handler with the low point on the corner to which the primary drain is connected without any fuss? I don't see anything inside the unit which would be particularly sensitive to being level.

So here are the specifics: I have a large home with two Goodman 4/5 ton AC/Heat Pump systems. The west system was flooding the secondary drip pan (no level switch protection) for some time due to a plugged p-trap in the internal (primary) drip tray.

I resolved the problems with the drains, and did some work on the slope of the primary and secondary drains. All seems to be working well now, although there appears to be some corrosion on the condenser coil, and in fact may be leaking some refrigerant. (Another topic for later...) But the thing seems to drain well, even with low humidity.

Due to the trouble with the west Air Handler, I went to look at the east unit. No signs of moisture in the secondary tray, but the primary drain didn't have a provision for a cleanout of the p-trap, and no vent downstream of the trap to prevent a double-trap. I cut the old one out and replaced it with a system per the Goodman installation manual.

The east AC also has some corrosion, but not from a plugged drain apparently, but from a high level of water which existed in the primary tray for a long time according to the witness marks. I cleaned the tray and it now drains properly, more or less. However, there is no water emitting from the outside drain on the side of the house. The level (with the current low humidity conditions) seems to handle the condensation without anything getting to the drain. The unit maintains about 3/8" of water in the tray. Evidently, evaporation through the air stream is negating the need for the drain at this point. Hence -My question about changing the orientation of the system since it appears the low point is opposite of the drain. If I'm going to change the level of the assembly, I want to make sure I won't louse something else up trying to make the thing drain properly!

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Regards Pete Hodgkins aka Rugerhound
 
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Old 05-07-19, 09:05 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You can tilt the air handlers slightly towards the drain corner. There should be little to no standing water in there. The primary drains should be flushed with bleach and water every year. If you aren't getting water outside from a primary line..... try a shop vac on it to draw the clog out.

If there was a refrigerant leak that you were aware of..... ie: bubbling...... it would only be a matter of hours or a day until the system was empty.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 09:50 PM
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Thanks Pete!

The drain is open... I've put a couple gallons of solution and water through the drains, so I know they're open. I think the cabinet for the air handler in question is 'tweaked' a bit which causes the primary tray to favor the side away from the drain. As I stated - with it running, it keeps a 3/8" or so level of water in the tray. I can push down on the pan and force more to drain out, but the plastic tray springs back when I release it.

The suspicion of a leak on the other side is based upon the condition of the coil and the fact that I had to have my AC guy add 2 or 3 pounds of refrigerant last year when it froze up in the middle of cooling season. Apparently there are issues with some of these copper evaporator coils suffering from very small leaks that resist detection. I'm gonna have him come by and check the charge in the next week or so. If the system is low again, then we obviously have a tiny leak somewhere.
 
 

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