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Old 07-13-2011, 08:52 PM   #1
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Hi all,
My a/c unit has been running fine for about 5 years since it was installed - compressor is outside and air handler is in the attic. The drain line is plumbed into the gutter lining the roof on the 2nd floor and the drain pan is plumbed to the same gutter (both not viewable unless you are on a ladder and looking inside the gutter).

Last night I noticed that there was water comming from the ceiling / wall in the middle bedroom. When I went up into the attic I noticed that the overflow pan was full of water. Suspecting it was a clogged drain line I tried to fish a snake to clean it out (there is no clean out plug) but couldn't get to it. I then took my shop vac, attached it to my garden hose, and cleared the clog from where the drain line enters the gutter.

The reason for the leak in the middle bedroom was one of the support rods (the unit is suspended from the ceiling) was overhanging the pan and the backed up water leaked out of the unit onto the support rod and down in the ceiling - see red circle in the pic:



Not wanting to get up on a ladder at 11 PM again I want to know if I can / should install a clean out in the existing drain. If so, where?



The unit is draining fine now however because of the back up the foil covered insulation on the inside of the unit is soaked and I am fearful it may cause the unit to rust.

So specifically, here are my questions:
1) Can I install a clean out plug in the drain line shown in the pic above?
2) Should I cut the support so it does not overhang the drip pan?
3) Is there any way to plumb the over flow drain so I can see it? It goes directly into the gutter so I am thinking of putting a couple elbows or even a tube so I can see if it is dripping - not sure if putting more 90 degree elbows so it goes up and over the gutter edge will cause the water to flow back.
4) What do I do about the insulation in the air handler? Will it dry or should I replace it? If so, where would I even get it that thin and foil covered? How about replacing it with foam board insulation?
5) I read that pouring bleach down the drain tube will prevent alge / mold growth. Good idea? Can I pour it from the inside or will that harm the metal in the unit?
6) I am relgious about changing the filters (primary every month and AprilAire mega filter attached to the air handler once a year). Is there any other maintenance I should do?

Many thanks for your assistance!

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Old 07-14-2011, 05:54 AM   #2
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Quote:
1) Can I install a clean out plug in the drain line shown in the pic above?

With a little re piping yes.

2) Should I cut the support so it does not overhang the drip pan?

You ca, won't help anything.

3) Is there any way to plumb the over flow drain so I can see it? It goes directly into the gutter so I am thinking of putting a couple elbows or even a tube so I can see if it is dripping - not sure if putting more 90 degree elbows so it goes up and over the gutter edge will cause the water to flow back.


Its suppose to be piped that you will see water coming out of it. Reroute it as needed.

4) What do I do about the insulation in the air handler? Will it dry or should I replace it? If so, where would I even get it that thin and foil covered? How about replacing it with foam board insulation?

It will dry out, just needs a day or 2 of fan running.

5) I read that pouring bleach down the drain tube will prevent alge / mold growth. Good idea? Can I pour it from the inside or will that harm the metal in the unit?

Bleach is not good for teh coil, use a mild soap, dish soap will work.

6) I am relgious about changing the filters (primary every month and AprilAire mega filter attached to the air handler once a year). Is there any other maintenance I should do?

Check that coils are clean.

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Old 07-14-2011, 09:38 AM   #3
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Beenthere - thanks for the reply and advice. The coil is clean but I will get the spray to clean it anyway as it has never been done.

Regarding the clean out I am thinking of plumbing it like this:



What do you think?
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:17 PM   #4
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Do yourself a huge favor and buy one of them EZ-TRAPS.

http://www.hvacsolutionsdirect.com/p...ts-SKU117.html

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Old 07-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by alecmcmahon View Post
Do yourself a huge favor and buy one of them EZ-TRAPS.

http://www.hvacsolutionsdirect.com/p...ts-SKU117.html

Alecmcmahon - That's perfect!!! Thanks for the link!!!!
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:03 AM   #6
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


the emergency pan under your air handler shoul be pvc piped directly out side NO TRAP to a stoop or over a kitchen window...so when you see water dripping/running that warns you the main unit pvc condensate is blocked and flowing out the panels.to clear the unit PVC line remove the blower access door "unit off" take a 3/8ths rubber hose with a wet paper towel wrapped 2" from the end of the tube blindly reach into the condensated pan and insert it where the PVC connects to the unit....and blow on the other end not so hard your ears pop just enough to burp the blockage out ...cycle some water in the pan the verify flow.....you should never have water in the pan under the Carrier air handler...slight dripping from the insulated suction with a humid attic sure but not filled...redrill the support chain/eye let and move it inside the base pan so an overflow won't weep over and down....if you want to access that unit pvc hit HD and get a 3/4 pvc union and repalce that coupling with the union hand tight on install easy clean out right after the trap shown...
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Biggles - Thanks for the input - please see my comments / questions below:


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
the emergency pan under your air handler shoul be pvc piped directly out side NO TRAP to a stoop or over a kitchen window...so when you see water dripping/running that warns you the main unit pvc condensate is blocked and flowing out the panels.
Agreed - they installed it wrong. The problem is that I would make the drain higher than the output if I moved it. Check out this mockup:




Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
to clear the unit PVC line remove the blower access door "unit off" take a 3/8ths rubber hose with a wet paper towel wrapped 2" from the end of the tube blindly reach into the condensated pan and insert it where the PVC connects to the unit....and blow on the other end not so hard your ears pop just enough to burp the blockage out ...cycle some water in the pan the verify flow.....you should never have water in the pan under the Carrier air handler...slight dripping from the insulated suction with a humid attic sure but not filled...redrill the support chain/eye let and move it inside the base pan so an overflow won't weep over and down....if you want to access that unit pvc hit HD and get a 3/4 pvc union and repalce that coupling with the union hand tight on install easy clean out right after the trap shown...
So should I just put a "T" there with a cap? I am going to see if I can get the EZ trap to fit but if I can't I will go that route.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:26 PM   #8
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


I dont understand that drawing of yours, I wouldnt put the discharge into the gutter... What happens if your gutters clog up and fill with water?

Then you have the blue extension, how do you plan to gravity drain water UP ?
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:31 PM   #9
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by alecmcmahon View Post
I dont understand that drawing of yours, I wouldnt put the discharge into the gutter... What happens if your gutters clog up and fill with water?

Then you have the blue extension, how do you plan to gravity drain water UP ?
I wouldn't have done it that way either - that's how the installers put it in. My point of the drawing was to show that by putting an extension I could not put overflow pan drip where I see it because I would have to go up and over the gutter.

Looking to see if there is a way I could correct this installer error.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #10
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


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Originally Posted by spta97 View Post
I wouldn't have done it that way either - that's how the installers put it in. My point of the drawing was to show that by putting an extension I could not put overflow pan drip where I see it because I would have to go up and over the gutter.

Looking to see if there is a way I could correct this installer error.
oh i see, read it too fast.

Why not to re-route the drain completely to a different location instead of struggling to make it work around a gutter.

what is the space like in the attic?
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:54 PM   #11
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by alecmcmahon View Post
oh i see, read it too fast.

Why not to re-route the drain completely to a different location instead of struggling to make it work around a gutter.

what is the space like in the attic?
It's terrible. The only options I would have would be to shunt it out the left or right side of the house and stick a PVC pipe out of my siding which would involve a run of at least 15' in either direction...and a hole in my siding.

How fast can the main drain clog? If I am good about cleaning it out every season I wonder if that would be enough?
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:03 PM   #12
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


the emergency drain line has be viewed from inside the house as water overflows the unit pan...1" of water in a pan 5 x 5 can do major damage routine unit clean out is preventive maint.bt you never know.....don't ever use gutters as condesate run offs...install a llquid tech sensor in the emerg. pan if it senses water it will lock the cooling out
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:40 PM   #13
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
the emergency drain line has be viewed from inside the house as water overflows the unit pan...1" of water in a pan 5 x 5 can do major damage routine unit clean out is preventive maint.bt you never know.....don't ever use gutters as condesate run offs...install a llquid tech sensor in the emerg. pan if it senses water it will lock the cooling out
My only options are to put a new pan and repipe the over flow out the side of my house. The way the attic is setup does not make this an easy task because the drain is so low.

Is there a model number for the liquid tech shut off you noted?
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:46 PM   #14
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Apparently these work real well.

http://www.diversitech.com/prod/wet_switch.php
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #15
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Drain line plugged on air handler unit - need advice


Thanks for the link

I was hoping it would be line voltage as I would know how to hook that up. Can you help me with how I would hook this up to the air handler? I have a 120 vac line on a switch into the attic air handler so I assume I would hook this up in line to the circuit board inside the unit? Not sure what to splice into.

Thanks..

Edit: Just looked up the instructions and it seems to wire into the thermostat wires. Should be easy enough. The only variable is I have a "thermidistat" which detects humidity so I may have an extra wire or two. It also appears to have an optional alarm which I would get as well.

Thanks again - I'll sleep better at night

Oh, I was looking into the EZ drain and I can't fit it due to how close the unit is to the attic floor / drain pan so I'll have to replumb it to get a PVC "T" in there. That may be better off to do once the heat subsides.

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Last edited by spta97; 07-18-2011 at 07:17 PM.
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