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Old 09-17-2010, 03:32 PM   #1
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


Let me begin by saying that I'm an idiot and I am about the furthest thing from being considered technically inclined. With that being said, I do peruse this forum from time to time hoping to solve my household problems. I've never had to ask a question here before, but I guess there is a first time for everything.....so here goes:

I've been in my house since it was built in 2003. For the first time since I have lived here I have noticed a drip from a small (4-5") PVC pipe that protrudes from my soffit. I'm not sure it that is normal or not, but the drip is just outside of our dining room window where we sit every night and I thought surely I would have noticed this drip before. Over the two days I have been monitoring the drip, it has ranged from a very small drip to almost a consistent stream.

I live in a hot/humid area (Houston, TX). However, it has not been unseasonably hot and we haven't had any more rain than normal. Should I be worried about this drip? Can someone explain to me what would cause this drip and whether or not I should be concerned about it? Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:41 PM   #2
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


Your A/C unit drips water into a pan suspended below it. This is most likely the condensation drain pipe from that pan. It is when it STOPS dripping water that you need to worry. That could indicate that the pipe has become plugged up somehow. If that happens, the pan under your A/C unit may overflow, dripping down upon some very expensive ceiling surfaces.
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:17 PM   #3
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


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Originally Posted by bredo View Post
Let me begin by saying that I'm an idiot and I am about the furthest thing from being considered technically inclined. With that being said, I do peruse this forum from time to time hoping to solve my household problems. I've never had to ask a question here before, but I guess there is a first time for everything.....so here goes:

I've been in my house since it was built in 2003. For the first time since I have lived here I have noticed a drip from a small (4-5") PVC pipe that protrudes from my soffit. I'm not sure it that is normal or not, but the drip is just outside of our dining room window where we sit every night and I thought surely I would have noticed this drip before. Over the two days I have been monitoring the drip, it has ranged from a very small drip to almost a consistent stream.

I live in a hot/humid area (Houston, TX). However, it has not been unseasonably hot and we haven't had any more rain than normal. Should I be worried about this drip? Can someone explain to me what would cause this drip and wether or not I should be concerned about it? Thanks for your help.
you need to keep this line open. Their is a tablet that keep's the slime from building up in the pan . Get it at a air condition co. Or maybe a box store may have it?? If it ever get's plug up than you will have a problum. All so their is a little monitor unit that goes into the pan and will sound off letting you know the pan is about to over flow. These are the box store's .Good idea to get one. Good for unit's over head.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:12 PM   #4
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


SERVICE REQUIRED!!!!!!!!! This dripping in a house built as recently as yours is something that requires immediate attenton. As stated it is the drain line from the drip pan that is suspended under the coil of your ac unit. This is an emergency overflow pan, and when it drips it is indicating that the main drain from the coil unit is clogged, thus causing the unit to overflow into the emergency pan, which is discharged in an obvious location, so that, just as in your case, someone notices it. The main drain is connected to a plumbing stack some where in the attic, They are usually 3/4" pvc, and clog quite easily.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:18 PM   #5
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


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SERVICE REQUIRED!!!!!!!!! This dripping in a house built as recently as yours is something that requires immediate attenton. As stated it is the drain line from the drip pan that is suspended under the coil of your ac unit. This is an emergency overflow pan, and when it drips it is indicating that the main drain from the coil unit is clogged, thus causing the unit to overflow into the emergency pan, which is discharged in an obvious location, so that, just as in your case, someone notices it. The main drain is connected to a plumbing stack some where in the attic, They are usually 3/4" pvc, and clog quite easily.
I think trouble seeker hit it. While I can't say a 4 or 5 inch drain is what I would expect, especially since it wasn't dripping before and it is now, it really sounds like a secondary drain.

they put them in front of windows or even doors intentionally so you will notice it when it drips, just like you have. The problem is; you must know what it is so that dripping makes some sense.

Time to climb in the attic and investigate, NOW!!
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:32 AM   #6
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


You didn't say where the air handler and cooling coil is but that is usually the source of any condensed water that needs to be dealt with. In most installations the water condensed on the cooling coils is directed to the house's sewer drain with a secondary drain that goes to the outside of the house when the main drain to the sewer becomes plugged up.

You might want to check your air handler to be sure the main drain is working ok and that emergency overflow pan is not filled with water.
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:37 AM   #7
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


Every house I've been in here in SC's low-country has the PVC condensation drain pipes that run from air handler to the exterior of the home. If you can't access the PVC for any reason, find the pipes' location on the outside, then set up your shop vac for wet and attach to the pipe (use a piece of flexable rubber-like material to make a better seal where the vac overlaps the PVC) and suck out any obstruction (usually slimey build-up)
A couple drops of a chlorinated product will help lessen the build up frequency. If you can access it, put it in the PVC near the unit - where the curved trap is. Check on what products are best.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:52 PM   #8
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


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I think trouble seeker hit it. While I can't say a 4 or 5 inch drain is what I would expect,
Time to climb in the attic and investigate, NOW!!
I think he meant that the stub protruding from the soffitt was 4 or 5 inches in length, not diameter. I first had the same thought....why would there be a 4 or 5 inch pipe stuck out of the soffitt, then I realized what he meant.
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:17 PM   #9
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What is this pipe and why is it dripping?


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I think he meant that the stub protruding from the soffitt was 4 or 5 inches in length, not diameter. I first had the same thought....why would there be a 4 or 5 inch pipe stuck out of the soffitt, then I realized what he meant.
Ya, you're probably right. 4-5" and small pipe generally aren't used in the same sentence if referring to diameter.
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