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Old 02-09-2010, 06:11 PM   #1
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Condensate drain in deep snow


I live in the DC area and we are having record snowfalls. The condensate drain from our furnace discharges outside the house near the a/c compressor box. This area at present is under probably 2' of snow. More snow is on the way. Do I need to clear the area and what will happen if the snow blocks the drain?
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:42 PM   #2
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Condensate drain in deep snow


The water will back up in the furnace and shut down the heat or if you have a low overflow tube it may spill over on the floor. Drain tubes should not dischage were it could freez. I would re rout to a drain or laundry sink. Dont put in a sink you soak any clothes in the water is very acidic and will distroy the clothes.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:29 PM   #3
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Condensate drain in deep snow


Thank you, John. The furnace is a Bryant 'Plus 90', about 13 years old and has been through many a winter without the drainage tube causing problems. I can't make changes until the weather improves, but I will be on the lookout for water on the floor. I looked in the fan compartment (bottom part) of the furnace. It was bone dry. The furnace (so far) is maintaining temperature. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:04 AM   #4
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Condensate drain in deep snow


Is there any reason you don't just remove the snow from that area around the discharge tube?
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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Condensate drain in deep snow


I went out there last evening before posting my original message. The snow, with drifting, is hard to move about in - between 2 and 3'. I did manage to get the gate open and shovel my way to the compressor. I cleared that off and tried to test with the shovel for the presence of a tube under the snow between it and the house wall. Couldn't find one so I went inside, but then I traced the line from the drain pump, and it has to exit near where I was. I can go back and try again, but snow is insulating. Perhaps removing it and exposing the tube to the air would not be a good idea? any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:29 PM   #6
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Condensate drain in deep snow


If this is critical to the heating units operation, I would free it from the snow. I would then take a piece of plywood (on something else handy) and lean it against the house and stack some snow against that to make sure it stays in place.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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Condensate drain in deep snow


Thank you. I'll give it a try. I just re-read John's reply about what could happen if it backs up into the furnace. I don't see any sign of it doing that yet, but this is a good suggestion and definitely worth trying.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:56 PM   #8
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Condensate drain in deep snow


Quote:
Originally Posted by Raclare View Post
I went out there last evening before posting my original message. The snow, with drifting, is hard to move about in - between 2 and 3'. I did manage to get the gate open and shovel my way to the compressor. I cleared that off and tried to test with the shovel for the presence of a tube under the snow between it and the house wall. Couldn't find one so I went inside, but then I traced the line from the drain pump, and it has to exit near where I was. I can go back and try again, but snow is insulating. Perhaps removing it and exposing the tube to the air would not be a good idea? any thoughts would be appreciated.
If the drain pump you are describing is a condensate pump IE small self contained pump that the furnace is draining into. Then if the line freezes the pump will overflow and unless it has a safety overflow switch then it shouldent shut down the heat.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:38 PM   #9
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Condensate drain in deep snow


John,

There is a small pump that sits on the floor beside the furnace. A clear tube runs from it up along the wall, then down near the floor and exits near the (exterior) wall of the house. I went out there again, tried to dig snow from the area where I think it must exit, shielded it with the snow shovel and piled snow against the back of the shovel (couldn't find a piece of plywood). Primitive for sure, but the best I could do. There is little space to work in and a LOT of snow. I do hear you - it can back up and cause the furnace to shut down. Very undesirable. The thing is, I don't see any water in that tube and haven't for a long time. Once I questioned a serviceman about it. I didn't think the pump was working, but he seemed to think it was o.k. At this point, I look forward to several days of sun when I can have a better look. I will also call the company that installed it and see what they have to say.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:29 PM   #10
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Condensate drain in deep snow


I have a pump much the same as yours! My furnace (HE), the humidifier, the a/c A coil and the HRV (heat recovery ventilator) all drain into this, then it pumps the condensate into the laundry tub!
Is it possible for you to reroute the plastic line and have it drain into the sewer somehow?
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:25 PM   #11
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Condensate drain in deep snow


When the serviceman comes, I will ask him about re-routing the drain. It is definitely beyond my skill level to attempt this. The good news is, the heat is still on! Thanks for the suggestion.

By the way - when the furnace is running, do you see liquid in the plastic tubing? I never do, which puzzles me.

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Old 02-12-2010, 11:20 PM   #12
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Condensate drain in deep snow


If your referring to the plastic tubing that goes from teh pump to the outside. You will only see it when the pump runs.

Its also possible, that the water is clear enough, that you just don't realize its in the tubing.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:10 AM   #13
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Condensate drain in deep snow


I guess that is possible. In any case, re-routing the tubing sounds like a good idea - although, I do hope that we don't have many winters like this one!!!

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Old 02-13-2010, 08:14 AM   #14
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Condensate drain in deep snow


I remember(just barely) when a winter like this was more the norm, then the exception.

And road crews would put up snow fences to minimize drifting across the roads.
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