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Old 06-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


Working on an air handler that is having condensate drain issues. There are two drain lines, primary and secondary, the primary is piped to drain directly outside, secondary drains to a small collection area next to the air handler with a float switch to turn off the system if it fills up. Today the secondary bin began filling up while the AC is running. I assumed the primary was clogged and moved forward with shopvac, and cleaning the primary line from the air handler all the way outside. Everything is now clear and pouring 2 gallons of water at the air handler makes it outside with no problems. Here is where the mystery starts.

I currently have the primary line split, there is a small piece connected to the air handler and the long run going outside. I have a funnel in the outside line and the air handler line directed into the funnel. With this setup the system runs fine, I see water dripping into the funnel and water dripping out of the trap outside.

The issue comes when I connect the small air handler line to the outside line with a repair coupling. Immediately condensate beings coming out of the secondary line into the collection bin. Again, I disconnect the primary line, insert a funnel and the system works fine.

The condensate lines are positive pressure (there is a small air flow out of both lines). Other than that I am completely confused and have been researching all day trying to understand what may be happening.

Thoughts?

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Old 06-01-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


are you positive water is coming out of the air handler into the line? could be clogged inside the air handler itself.

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Old 06-01-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


I am positive, I can currently see water flowing out of the air handler main drain line into the funnel which funnels into the pipe running outside. Been running for a few hours now that way with no issue, no water into secondary drain line, etc.

As soon as I reconnect the main drain line (instead of using the funnel) water begins coming out of the secondary drain line.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:02 PM   #4
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


Mot air handlers are negative pressure at the coil. Post brand and model number of your air handler.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


Carrier 58PAV
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:44 PM   #6
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


Looking at it further, it looks like that is the furnace, the cased coils looks like CFA-HM2414AC. It is an upflow furnace with the AC coils on top.
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:58 PM   #7
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


How long is the run? does it have a vent. sounds like with the unit running
the pressure keeps the condenstate from flowing
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


your losing the water trap seal when flip flopping the funnel to coupling,reconnect the primary lines and fill the pan let the trap seal the air handler negative as the water drains out side.question inside a question isn't the secondary drain line the insulated area of the air handle and not the condensate pan itself or is it higher in the pan.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


I had one last night, horizontal gas system with slab coil, that was not draining from the main drain. Checked and blew out main drain and it was clear, at least from the screw together blow out fitting on the main drain line a foot from the coil. Home owner mentioned he only 10 days ago had the blow in cellulose insulation done and ever since he's noticed the issue.

Sure enough, one glance and the service door of the furnace was not seated properly. Opened it up and sure enough, insulation all in there at the blower compartment.

I cut the duct board transition open and sure enough the coil had about one inch of the new insulation on it, causing a sort of venturri effect as it pertained to the drain line. The air was squeezing around the blocked coil and thus trapping the condensate after the main drain hole of the evap. Cleaned the coil, sealed the blower door (after checking for return air leaks in the attic which concluded none) and all is good.

I think you need a p-trap and two individual drain lines. The secondary should not tie into the main, if I read your description correctly. Plus you need to cut the main drain near the evap and blow it both ways, to the internals of the evap and the other way.
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Last edited by Doc Holliday; 06-01-2013 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:08 PM   #10
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Condensate Drain Line Mystery


A 58PAV is a gas furnace. I recommend blowing out the drainline and adding a pvc Tee to serve as a vent. pour some bleach in the drainline as well.
I'm not a big fan of using a 3/4" trap on a setup like that, unless it is the 1.5" trap where it ties into the plumbing system.


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