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knownunknown 07-07-2010 05:19 PM

Broken Condensate Pan
Hi all, first of all, new user here, and new homeowner.

I had an AC guy to come out for maintenance, and while he was inspecting the unit in the attic, he says the drain fitting of the condensate pan broke while he was doing something. Since it broke right at the fitting (there is a threaded fitting that sticks out of the pan) he says I need a whole new unit.

The unit is about 12 years old and I am in Atlanta, so it gets a lot of use and is kinda weak, but still, this seemed a little weird to me, and I can't really afford a whole new unit right now.

Anyhow, he scheduled a guy to come out in the morning to replace the whole system, but I got to thinking in the meantime, what the hell, can't I just glue this thing back together? So I got some loctite and stuck it back together, and it isn't leaking.

So my questions:

1. Does it seem right to recommend a whole new system due to one broken fitting in the drain pan?

2. Is it common for stuff like that to break and crack? It was a plastic fitting, and I don't know, it just seems kinda convenient that it broke while he was here. My only guess is that someone over-tightened the fitting when they fastened the PVC drain pipe.

3. Am I dumb for trying to glue it back together? Is he dumb for not recommending an easy solution like that?

Part of me feels like, it's a 12 year old system and due for replacement anyway. It's inefficient and having a hard time keeping up with this Atlanta heat. Another part of me feels like maybe I'm getting scammed into buying a new system when this one might hold out a few more years. Just before this thing broke, the guy was trying to talk me into a new system.

Thanks for reading my long post, hope someone can provide some answers or moral support!

hennyh 07-07-2010 05:32 PM

Did he bother to see if just the condensate pan can be replaced. There are aftermarket replacements.

Marty S. 07-07-2010 06:11 PM

He should have said a new pan will be X dollars and you will still have the system that can't keep up. Not sure I would want to put any money in a system that doesn't do its job but it's not my money we're talking about. Probably didn't glue it because when/if the glue fails you might sue for mold and water damage.

mikethe ductman 07-07-2010 06:21 PM

I am just north of Atl.

Let me know what size drain pan you need.

I might have one on hand.

knownunknown 07-07-2010 06:23 PM

Thanks guys. He didn't check for aftermarket replacement, but he might have been in the mindset like Marty said, that this thing wasn't going to cut it anyway, so maybe he was honestly trying to point me in the right direction. Marty, yes, I think that would have seemed a little more honest to me if he at least offered that option, I think that's what made me a little suspicious... but c'est la vie.

Well, even though this is going to be a bit of a financial strain, I am going from a piece of junk to a modern and more efficient system, so here's hoping I have many trouble free years and a lower power bill. The maintenance guy did observe that not only was my current system old, but it was also one of the cheapest, crappiest systems available to the builder. Driving around my neighborhood, I can tell that a lot of my neighbors have already upgraded. (homes here were built in '98 - '99)

Red Squirrel 07-07-2010 06:26 PM

I would use a heat resistant glue. While now you are just thinking about AC, remember that it needs to survive heat in the winter when the furnace is on. There may be some cement based glue or something you could use. Maybe hydrolic cement?

knownunknown 07-07-2010 06:34 PM

I am using loctite waterproof stick n seal, it doesn't say anything about temperatures, but I will definitely keep an eye on it. At the moment I am resigned to getting a new system, so I think it really only needs to hold until the installer arrives tomorrow. The only other option is baking in the heat. Just checked and it still seems to be holding. No water in the backup pan.

beenthere 07-07-2010 07:10 PM

It broke while he was doing something?

Ask them how much of the bill they are going to pay for?

While things can break during normal service/maintanence being done to equipment. Charging full price, is not something that should be done.

hennyh 07-07-2010 08:35 PM


Originally Posted by beenthere (Post 466654)
It broke while he was doing something?

Ask them how much of the bill they are going to pay for?

While things can break during normal service/maintanence being done to equipment. Charging full price, is not something that should be done.

Beenthere is right. Raise a little hell with the company. Techs make mistakes and maybe they'll replace the pan which will buy you some time to decide when the time is right for replacement.

knownunknown 07-08-2010 07:39 AM

Thanks guys, this has been really helpful, and I got to thinking, this dude really did screw this up. I canceled the installation since my loctite fix seems to be working just fine, and I am waiting for the service manager to call me back so I can ask why a replacement part wasn't recommended instead of a whole new system.

Though I feel like the system is having a hard time keeping up on the hotter days, I've just decided that I'd rather deal with that for a while then drop gobs of money on a new system.

I'll post an update with the service manager's response.

One other question, my backup pan does not have a float switch, can those be installed easily by a DIYer? I'd like to add one in case my main drain pan fails.

knownunknown 07-08-2010 08:39 AM

Talked to the service manager. He agreed that to not offer a replacement part was wrong, even for a system where it might be hard to find the part. My guess is that this guy is on commission and was looking for any reason to talk me into a new system. They are going to locate a replacement drain pan and install it no charge.

Thanks again for the guidance, I feel like I've learned a lot in the last 24 hours!

beenthere 07-08-2010 09:19 AM

I've taken the old pan to sheet metal, or fabrication shops. And had them make up a new one.

Float switch is an easy device to install.

Scuba_Dave 07-08-2010 10:04 AM

Repair seems liek a good option
As far as a new system that depends upon your budget
And buying a new house always has initial costs that you might want to get by b4 more big expenses
But you also need to weigh savings of a new efficient system VS running the old system savings TAX Credits end at the end of 2010
So consider that too

knownunknown 07-09-2010 12:58 PM

New day, new problem. They discovered the coil is leaking in a couple places when they pulled it out to replace the drain pan (I can see and feel one hole, but the other hole is somewhere in the aluminum fins). I am just having them replace the coil which will be about $900 installed. It's a pain in the ass, but this appears to be the source of my problems in the first place, so maybe this thing will cool a little better for a while.

mikethe ductman 07-09-2010 01:42 PM

Boy talk about luck

For some reason I don't think this is the end of this story.

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