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Old 08-01-2008, 09:15 PM   #1
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Drip pan on A/C with major problems

TO someone that reads this I hope this will be an easy one, or it could end up being a very nasty problem. A frinds small house must have had the air handler put in before the roof. We are NO room to move.

As happens this time of year in Florida the drain to thier A/C was glogging up with that lovely stuff that looks like it came from a Elephant with a cold. Rather than draining as much water out of the drain pain as possible, whcih they would do, they were shooting the hose up the drain tube from the outside and not the inside,so were only clearing out enough of the yuck to make the water start flowing again. Had they shot the hose from the isnside they would have cleaned the tube out much better and it wouldn't keep clogging again so often. I've also found out that if you have a good sized portable air cansister that you can put at leas 100 psi of air in you can clean a dring tube out with that failry good without the chance of getting water on the floor.

Well it seems that they last time that it clogged and overflowed (No it does not have a shut off float that I will rememdy) they decided that they could keep the tube from clogging again by placing a fair sized chunk of pool chlorine right next to the drain in the drain pain.

Suprisingly the tube still clogged, however the chlorine reacted with the drain pan over a fairly large area. So when they called me over not only was the tube clogged but now the drain pan in perforated with holes from the chlorine. These are some strange holes. You can only see them by shining a flashlight up the bottom.

Naturally you would first say, just replace the drain pan. I wish I could just lift the roof off and put it right back and then I could do that. Worse is the wntire air handler is supported by the drain pan. There are 2 pieces of angle that or hooked to the roof by 4 pieces all thread and run UNDER THE DRAIN PAN!

The air handler is supported buy boards sitting inside of the drain pan. I have absolutly no idead of how the boards are still in good shape and havent rotted away from years of sitting in water.

So to change the drian pan I would have to somehow support the air handler from the roof so that I could unbolt the drain pan and change it. Since there is only enough room for a small 3 year old to get behind the air handler to even get at the bolts holding the drain pan let alone to hange the air handler would make this a hell of a project.

Some times you would just love to get a few minutes alone in a dark alley with the supposed profesional contractors that leave you with this kind of mess to try an fix.


It's a shame that places like Home Depot don't want to put out the money to hire the good 'ol Jury Riggers that can fix anything anymore. Kids that know were the stuff is, but nothing about it are a lot cheaper.

I've thought of a few things like the Wet and Dry roofing tar, but it's meant to fix a leak in a roof while it's raining, but will it hold together if it stays wet?

There is probably an epxoy paint that will work and stick, but finding it is another matter. I could use 20 tubes of the mairne epoxy that I know would set up hard as a rock, but I'd be scared that I might push right through the pan while forceing that stuff on. I know that I can strengthen the pan up using figerglass matt and liquid epoxy that I use to repaire boats with,but I'm about possitive that even a quickly as that sets up it won't forme a watertight barrier on a damp rusty surface.

Does any any one know of a product that I could use to water proof the inside of this pan, that is naturally rusty.


Last edited by BJLower; 08-01-2008 at 09:22 PM. Reason: tried icin in title
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:37 PM   #2
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the air handler has a PVC pipe coming out then into the drain pan? or is this an over flow pan the unit/clorine is sitting in...with the PVC piping to the outside where they blew it down.i would repipe the PVC and bring the trap out away from the air handler so it can be flushed down from a vent...even add a PVC shut off to the line back to the air handler so it blows out into the yard.that pan should have no water in it and it should have a 3/4 female fitting to pipe out pvc to the outside over a window or onto a stoop so if the owner sees water he knows the condensate is blocked


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Old 08-03-2008, 08:55 AM   #3
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The damage is done. By the time your done, the entire pan will be a patchwork. If your impressed with what chlorine does to galvanized metal, you ought to see what it does to aluminum and copper, like in an AC coil.

Wrong is wrong. Find the best way to supprt the air handler from the roof trusses permanently, correct any drain issues, and replace the overflow protection, and/or the drain pan.

Last edited by 8 Ball; 08-03-2008 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:04 PM   #4
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Unless I'm missing something here, I don't think the pan under the A/C unit should be accumulating water unless the drain pan inside the unit under the coils is leaking.

I thought the pan underneath was a second line of defense. I'm not an HVAC person so I'm just going by what I see when my HVAC people install units in my houses. We have a pan under the units with a float cut-off switch. It water gets to that pan, it turns off the unit so no further damage can be done.
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:21 PM   #5
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8 ball is right

but if the right way is not an option financially or otherwise , and the holes are in the secondary pan not the primary pan I would rework the drain add a clean out or a union I like the product E-Z trap . there a sinch to put in in and even easier to clean. I would address leak in the secondary drain by patching, ( sheetmetel ,and silicon) and add several wet switches in series located at all the low spots in the pan. they are better then floats because they shut the unit off (manual reset) with the smallest amount in the pan. if the trap is cleaned every year no water will ever get to the pan any way. ps I know it aint 100% right but its the cheapest /best/eisiyist
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drain pan , fiberglass , hvac , water proof

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