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Old 08-10-2007, 02:27 PM   #1
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? about Attic Air Handler and Drainage

Hi folks - first time poster. Hopefully someone can shed some light on this situation. I'm not an HVAC DIYer at all but I can understand most of the system.

My new-to-me ranch house has dual zone central air. There are two units outside on separate pads, and to my knowledge, 2 air handlers in the attic. House is 2200 sqft. A/C is approximately 2 yrs old.

Near the outside units are of course, 4 PVC drains coming out of the side of the house. Two are long pipes that come down the entire side of the house to the ground, then 90 degree bends away from the house, and then another few feet of PVC. My understanding is these are the "normal" water drains for the 2 air handlers in the attic of my house. As far as I can tell, the ground is moist by these two pipes on warm humid days...a good sign to me.

What is a point of concern is that there are 2 other PVC drains that are for the "emergency drain" pan. These are properly situated above a window so that we can see if it's letting out condensed H20. My potential problem is, I've been seeing water dripping out of at least one of these other pipes for the past few days.

A little back story:

When we bought the house, we found attic mold during the inspection. It was explained to us that the emergency drain pan had tipped and spilled water on the insulation and the ceiling drywall. Indication: inproper installation. Jump ahead to 3 days post move-in...wife is cleaning, reaches into a coat closet and gets dripped on. We immediately called an HVAC company who shows up and the technician tells me the main drain was not hooked up properly on one of the air handlers, resulting in ALL the condensation going into the emerg. drain pan. We paid him to fix that. He recommended an emergency shut of electronic thing that will basically close (or interrupt, I'm not sure) a circuit if water rises in the pan beyond a certain point, thereby shutting off my thermostats. I liked the concept but we were really hurting for cash at the time so we've tabled that fix for now. BUt let me be clear, I have yet to ever see water in the ceiling again.

Big Question:

Is there a problem if I'm seeing water coming out of the emergency drain pipes? I know they're there for a reason, but I'm not sure what the indication really is, if you know what I mean.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance.



Last edited by John_In_PA; 08-10-2007 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:49 AM   #2
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Yes, you still have a problem with your drain. The emergency drain pan you are referring to is a large sheet metal pan that sits underneath the entire air handler. When the line backs up (or drain pan leaks), the drain pan underneath the unit catches the water. It then drains outside over the window. We do not do this anymore. We uses two safety switches and eliminate the overflow drain line. One safety switch is a inline float switch which will cut off the unit if the line backs up. The other safety switch is a pan float. Instead of draining the water by the window, the pan builds a small amount of water and trips this switch. Even if it has an overflow drain line, I still add both of these switches. Call an HVAC technician to fix the problem. I would pay for the switches or install them yourself. You won't be having these problems if you do.


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Old 08-11-2007, 12:33 PM   #3
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Thank you Malcom.

I will call the same HVAC technician out, since I paid him a lot of money to fix any drain problems in the attic. I should think I might be entitled to a "free" revisit.
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