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Old 05-29-2012, 08:47 AM   #1
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


Hi all,

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend. We had a couple of beautiful days here in Massachusetts, which I think led to the problem I discovered this morning in the basement...

I ran the A/C unit all weekend, usually set between 68 and 70, but I noticed a lot of ice formed on the line going into the house. I assume that this is related.

So this morning, I'm eating my cereal, when I hear a strange sound from the basement that sounds like a motor or pump running, for maybe 5-6 seconds. (I have only lived in the house for 7 months, so I am still not used to all the sounds I hear ).

I went downstairs to find a big puddle of water on the basement floor around where my furnace and AC are. I was running late for work so I only had a couple of minutes to check, and here's what I found...

There is a small pipe that runs from the furnace/AC down to the condensate pump on the floor, then a hose runs from the condensate pump out to a drain. There was water dripping from the top of this pipe.

Since I was upstairs at the time, my best guess is that (1) the condensate pump turned on (the sound I heard?) and (2) something was clogging/blocking it, so it overflowed? Does this make any sense?

Is this something I could diagnose and fix myself, or should I call a HVAC guy?

As always, I appreciate any help you all can offer.

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:51 AM   #2
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


You can remove all hoses and simply drain any water into a bucket and then blow through each and every hose to see of anything is clogged and to clear it or you can call a tech out who'll use nitrogen or compressed air to really clear it.

I'd try it myself first. Just don't swallow any of that condensate water.

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


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You can remove all hoses and simply drain any water into a bucket and then blow through each and every hose to see of anything is clogged and to clear it or you can call a tech out who'll use nitrogen or compressed air to really clear it.

I'd try it myself first. Just don't swallow any of that condensate water.
I can't swallow it? I have it saved in the drum of my wet/dry vac to make cocktails later

Kidding aside though, I vacuumed it up as best I could so that my cats wouldn't go down to the basement (the litter boxes are there) and decide to take a drink.

Thanks for the tips, I will try that tonight. I can always count on you guys for good help!
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:42 PM   #4
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


I was able to take some photos, and do a little investigating. Here is what I found:

No further water had leaked (that's good!).
I noticed some areas of the drain pipe were still a little wet (see photos).
I disconnected the drain pipe from the AC and poured several cups of water down there, and after that the pump started to overflow, creating another puddle to clean up.
Aha! I realized that I had turned off the breaker for the furnace/AC this morning. I switched the power back on, and right away the pump started up and I watched the water coming out the other end of the hose, into the drain in my basement.
To test it again, I poured some more water down the drain pipe (leaving the power on this time! ). Again, the pump turned on and pumped the water out.
I then reconnected the drain pipe to the AC, making sure to push it in as far as it could go.

Now, questions.

Could the leaking water have been caused by the drain pipe having a loose connection? If that is possible, that still seems like a lot of water for a loose connection. I would suspect the pump of overflowing, but it worked perfectly both times I tested it.

Anyway, I've pointed out the wet spots in the two photos attached. I'd appreciate any possible insight.


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Old 05-29-2012, 09:53 PM   #5
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


DoOd, your drain is not leaking, it's condensing the moisture in the ambient air surrounding it.

Your main drain needs to be insulated!!!
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:53 PM   #6
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


the coil was frozen... melted missed the drain pan and made a mess... check air filter.. check if coil clean... if those are good call for service....
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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the coil was frozen... melted missed the drain pan and made a mess... check air filter.. check if coil clean... if those are good call for service....

I concur. But still, insulate that main drain line.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:37 PM   #8
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


Id try to eliminate 1 of the 90s in that condensate drain if it were me ,more bends make it more likely to clog/harder to clean
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:04 PM   #9
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


Great info, guys, thanks!

First question: Doc Holliday, what would I use to insulate the drain line? PE foam or something?

Seems like we can rule out the pump as a cause?

carmon: I like your theory about the coils being frozen then melting, because as I said, the line going from the outdoor unit into the house was completely iced. But would it make that much water on the floor? The coil is located above the furnace, in that top part where the drain pipe comes out, right? If it had been the case, wouldn't the whole top of the furnace and sides be wet as well? Would the coils freeze if the temp was set too low? I had it set on 68 most of the day which was probably too cold for this unit?

Should I leave the power to the furnace/AC unit turned off until the water can dry out? I know water & electricity don't mix...

Thanks again for the great info! I was planning on calling a HVAC place this week anyway for a yearly checkup/tuneup, so I will mention all this to the guy when he comes!
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:21 AM   #10
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


Insultube or Armor Flex would be what you use, specific for a/c drain and refrigerant lines. Atcually, it looks like that is what is used on the vapor refrigerant line to the evaporator coil. The same stuff. Just get the correct size which that size should be stated on the pvc pipe, something like 3/4" being the usual. Then get either 3/4" ID x 1/2" or 1" thick insultube. Again, check the pvc pipe size for the right size insultube to fit over it.

Ask your service guy, he'll know.

If your coil froze up and the pump was not running then where's the water to go? If your system was in your attic then you'd not need a pump as condensate water woud gravity drain as the line would be pitched down and most likely this water all over the floor (ceiling if in attic) would not have happened. If your drain lines were clear, that is.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:52 PM   #11
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


Hi all, I finally had my HVAC guy out today so I thought I'd let you know how it turned out if you were curious.

First problem, I was low on refrigerant due to a small leak which he suspects was the cause of my unit icing up. The drain pipe from the A coil was also not glued into place, so water still was seeping out when condensation would drain.

What he thinks happened was after the coil froze, there was a lot of ice melting which simply overflowed the drain pan and caused the puddle on the floor.

He fixed the leak, replenished my refrigerant, and gave the system a good cleaning. Hopefully I'm now good to go for the summer!
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #12
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


Also, the secondary condensate drain is plugged - if the primary clogs water will overflow the pan and run down through the furnace. Some installers will tell you this is not a problem at a furnace on a concrete slab,.. but... what does the water run through to get to the slab.... the furnace(!)

Where amongst other things it shorts out the electronic control module present in many modern furnaces... at $400-600 a pop.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:41 AM   #13
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Water on basement floor around furnace/AC


I'm also having this problem! I have a Little Giant VCMA-15UL model condensate pump for my central air system and whenever we use the central air we find a huge puddle around the furnace and condensate pump in the basement. However, we noticed that condensate pump is overflowing and I'm not sure how to fix this. I read on another website that it could be the float inside is stuck or broken? But I'm not sure how to open the pump without breaking it. We also checked the gravity line connected to it that the water is supposed to drain out of and it's not clogged. I'm a new homeowner and all of this stuff is brand new to me so please help!

Thanks!

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