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-   -   Why is water coming out from the bottom of the HVAC unit? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f17/why-water-coming-out-bottom-hvac-unit-49882/)

Woz 07-29-2009 04:13 PM

Why is water coming out from the bottom of the HVAC unit?
 
Hi HVAC folks,

Perhaps one knowledgeable about these units can help me. We have an electric Bryant HVAC which came with the new construction house ('04) and has given us good service these 4-plus years. Of course in VA, it's AC time, which we've run constantly for two weeks now. (We previously this summer needed to use AC sparingly, because of our unusually moderate summer, thanks to global warming :yes:!) We have two outdoor exhaust fans. The big unit with the ducts (pardon my ignorance for not knowing its proper name) is in the garage. For the last several days, there has been a moderate rivulet of water leaking from the unit seemingly coming from the bottom of the unit. (Though a small PVC pipe exists for drainage, the bottom "under" the unit, which is flush on concrete, seems like the source.) My wife said this happened a couple of times a few years ago, but I don't remember. But the fact that it's happened for about three or four days in a row now, and that the accumulation is somewhat substantial - not to mention that stuff on the garage floor (like cardboard boxes) have gotten messed up and everything needed to go up somewhere makes me wonder - is something broken? The AC is normal in the house. It has been a bit humid for the past few days. Plus, the garage when it's closed is quite hot and humid. Could that much water be condensation? If so, it seems a poor design to have no place to go with that water. I checked the condensation pipes buried outside for the exhaust fans and they were a little blocked with debris which I removed. Could it be a "backup" from that? It seems to me too much water in the garage for normal operation. Is it time to call the HVAC doctor? Or is this normal? If so, what is a possible explanation?

Thanks,
Steve

Yoyizit 07-29-2009 04:56 PM

Some condensate drain line somewhere is blocked.

remcoair 07-29-2009 07:11 PM

Drain plugged, blow it out w/co2.

Yoyizit 07-30-2009 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by remcoair (Post 308357)
Drain plugged, blow it out w/co2.

Every time I cleared these with coat hangers wires or whatever, they worked again but "nothing" came out. What plugs these up?

handy man88 07-30-2009 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoyizit (Post 308506)
Every time I cleared these with coat hangers wires or whatever, they worked again but "nothing" came out. What plugs these up?

Dirt and/or rust flakes from the steel.

Yoyizit 07-30-2009 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by handy man88 (Post 308679)
Dirt and/or rust flakes from the steel.

Thanks. I always expected a "plug" of something and never saw it.

SKIP4661 07-30-2009 09:06 PM

Have seen them plugged with a substance that looked similar to a dog turd.

handy man88 07-30-2009 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoyizit (Post 308702)
Thanks. I always expected a "plug" of something and never saw it.

I just pulled back the cover of mine not long ago and noticed the blockage. There was a lot of flaky crud in the pan.

It also didn't help that the face of the threaded male connector had a flange on the inside that restricted the flow of the condensate water.

I ended up cutting the flange out and installing an EZT PVC trap with cleanout.

Thurman 08-01-2009 10:53 AM

The water that accumulate in the condensate drain pans of A/C units will grow mold by nature of it being in a warm area. The use of a 10-30% mixture of water/Clorox will work very good to keep this mold under control. This water is where Legionnaires Disease will start also. The mold will grow down into the condensate drain lines and by them being darker will grow even more, thus clogging them up. That's what looks like dog doo-doo. Woz-first, it sounds like you have a split unit with one part in your garage. And it sounds like your condensate drain pan has become plugged, is overflowing and draining down, instead of into the condensate drain line, making the mess you have. So many different units and designs out there now so it's hard to tell you where to look without a picture. You need to find this condensate drain pan, the condensate drain line and make sure they are cleaned out. Pour about two cups of straight Clorox in the drain pan to start with, if it will take it, if not dribble it in until it start to flow. DO FIND the other end of the drain line and make sure it is not blocked or stopped up. Once you are convinced the pan and line are draining, use a water hose with small flow to wash out any remaining residue. Good Luck, David

handy man88 08-01-2009 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thurman (Post 309327)
The water that accumulate in the condensate drain pans of A/C units will grow mold by nature of it being in a warm area. The use of a 10-30% mixture of water/Clorox will work very good to keep this mold under control. This water is where Legionnaires Disease will start also. The mold will grow down into the condensate drain lines and by them being darker will grow even more, thus clogging them up. That's what looks like dog doo-doo. Woz-first, it sounds like you have a split unit with one part in your garage. And it sounds like your condensate drain pan has become plugged, is overflowing and draining down, instead of into the condensate drain line, making the mess you have. So many different units and designs out there now so it's hard to tell you where to look without a picture. You need to find this condensate drain pan, the condensate drain line and make sure they are cleaned out. Pour about two cups of straight Clorox in the drain pan to start with, if it will take it, if not dribble it in until it start to flow. DO FIND the other end of the drain line and make sure it is not blocked or stopped up. Once you are convinced the pan and line are draining, use a water hose with small flow to wash out any remaining residue. Good Luck, David

I agree somewhat. I won't go as far as to comment about Legionnaires disease. One good thing is that come heating time, it will dry things up and hopefully the mold will die, but there will be mold residue.

I opened up my basement unit, the one that was clogged, and saw mold inside along the inside panels and pan, but not on the coil. I sprayed the area with a bleach/water mixture and then unclogged the drain. I ended up replacing all the plumbing to the floor drain to ensure there was no residue/clog.

As a safety precaution, I also checked my attic unit which wasn't clogged. After opening the panel, I looked in and the pan and A coil were clean.

Woz 08-01-2009 01:23 PM

Some things to think about
 
Thanks for taking the time to thoughtfully reply.
Yesterday on my day off, I saw where the leak was. It appeared to be a fitting on a pipe that was coming out midway of the unit, dripping steadily - not water seeping from the bottom like I thought at first. It appeared to drip through the unit to the floor and under the unit, sending streams through the garage. I tightened the fitting. The leak is now practically gone, very minimal. In a day the garage dried up! Two days ago, I found the drain from the unit in the back yard and unclogged it. Water is coming through it, so I think the drain under the unit in the garage is ok. I am tempted to get to it and be sure, as there are traces of moisture under the unit (maybe the leaky fitting isn't the only problem - but maybe it will take longer to dry out, being enclosed - or the minimal drip from the fitting will keep it moist), but it's enclosed in an aluminum "box" with no apparent entry. It being a gas, not electric unit like I first thought, getting to that may be one for the pros. At this point, with a dry garage, I can live with it. Thanks to all who helped! I really appreciate your expertise.

Woz

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thurman (Post 309327)
The water that accumulate in the condensate drain pans of A/C units will grow mold by nature of it being in a warm area. The use of a 10-30% mixture of water/Clorox will work very good to keep this mold under control. This water is where Legionnaires Disease will start also. The mold will grow down into the condensate drain lines and by them being darker will grow even more, thus clogging them up. That's what looks like dog doo-doo. Woz-first, it sounds like you have a split unit with one part in your garage. And it sounds like your condensate drain pan has become plugged, is overflowing and draining down, instead of into the condensate drain line, making the mess you have. So many different units and designs out there now so it's hard to tell you where to look without a picture. You need to find this condensate drain pan, the condensate drain line and make sure they are cleaned out. Pour about two cups of straight Clorox in the drain pan to start with, if it will take it, if not dribble it in until it start to flow. DO FIND the other end of the drain line and make sure it is not blocked or stopped up. Once you are convinced the pan and line are draining, use a water hose with small flow to wash out any remaining residue. Good Luck, David


Thurman 08-02-2009 09:38 AM

handy man88, and others--My information comes from working with the Environmental Department of a large manufacturing facility and the education related to the standing water in HVAC units, and cooling towers. Basically it comes down to standing water with some type of heat source nearby, like the compressor or fans of an A/C unit will tend to grow bacterium such as Legionaries Disease, among others. We had seventeen (17) air handling units on top of our building , and three cooling towers to constantly monitor for mold and/or bacterium. Thanks, David


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