Is A Condensate Pump Supposed To Backup A Primary Drain Line? - HVAC - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
Advertisement


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > HVAC

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Like Tree2Likes
  • 2 Post By 57TinkerMan
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Display Modes
Old 06-01-2020, 01:34 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 70
Rewards Points: 16
Default

Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


My wife and I live in a renovated rowhome in Baltimore City. The house was fully gutted in 2006, so all HVAC and plumbing is no older than that. The interior unit is on the second floor, and the exterior unit is on the roof at about the same elevation. My wife has owned the house for 5 years this August, and she's never had the system serviced. I intend to have it done now, but I'm concerned there might be an issue with the condensate drain or with the unit itself.

The system runs fine, cools and heats without issue. The problem is that the condensate pump runs several times a day now, when before it never ran at all. The reason I know that it never ran before is because the condensate drain line connects to the washer pan drain, which outlets in the ceiling of the basement shower. So every time the pump runs, the water free falls 6ft and smacks the shower tile floor. It's LOUD! You can hear it from the 3rd floor! This never used to happen. In fact, I had no idea there was even a drain outlet in the shower ceiling! We only discovered this after the washer pan began filling with water. It always used to be bone dry. We've since replaced the washer (spider arm was shot), and the plumber rerouted the condensate pump hose directly into the washer pan drain so that the pan isn't wet all the time.

My concern is that this pump isn't supposed to be running on a regular basis. I am 100% certain that it didn't used to run, because the sound of the outletting water is so loud it would be impossible to miss. So is there a primary drain that might be clogged?

I should also note, there's a pan under the inside unit and a pan under the condensate pump. Neither pan have any evidence that they've had water in them, as they have a fair amount of "fluffy" dust (as opposed to matted down or streaky dust, indicating a prior wet condition). There's also 2 dead flies in the condensate pan that haven't moved position in years lol

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

Last edited by rfehr613; 06-01-2020 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Add photos
rfehr613 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-01-2020, 02:56 PM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 525
Rewards Points: 906
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


The condensate pump discharge line was probably routed to the washing machine wall box. When the new washer was installed the plumber probably didn't know what to do with it (or it didn't fit) so he put it in the drain pan. Your drain pan under the washer should be dry, if you have a leak it will drip into shower below to warn you.
beenthere and Chris130 like this.
57TinkerMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-01-2020, 04:06 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 70
Rewards Points: 16
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 57TinkerMan View Post
The condensate pump discharge line was probably routed to the washing machine wall box. When the new washer was installed the plumber probably didn't know what to do with it (or it didn't fit) so he put it in the drain pan. Your drain pan under the washer should be dry, if you have a leak it will drip into shower below to warn you.
So the washer and dryer were just replaced a few months ago. That was done by us, not a previous homeowner. The condensate pump hose goes directly into the dedicated drain for the washer pan. It doesn't go into the wall box drain, probably due to the height or hose length. The plumber who installed the washer did this because there's a lip on the pan drain that prevents about ~1/2 of water from ever draining. And with the constant output from the pump, that would surely be problematic for the washer steel among other things.

This issue with the condensate pump began before we replaced the washer. At that point, the pump hose was simply laying in the washer pan. I think it was just a coincidence that both this problem and the washer leak happened around the same time. I guess i didn't mention, but the old washer also had a water leak during certain parts of the cycle (in addition to as corroded spider arm).

What I cannot understand is why the condensate pump is just now starting to come into use. Nothing had ever been touched since my wife bought the house, and for years nothing came out of that drain. It had to be going somewhere right? Is it at all possible that there just wasn't enough condensation for there to be a need to drain anything? I feel like it's too humid in this area for that to be possible.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
rfehr613 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-01-2020, 04:44 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 525
Rewards Points: 906
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


Can't really see the a/c and furnace drain connections at the pump in your picture. Can you take a better pic and post it?
57TinkerMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2020, 04:58 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 70
Rewards Points: 16
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


Here are some more photos. I can't say for sure, but I'm fairly positive the previous homeowner had some modifications done here. My wife is the 3rd homeowner since the rehab. The first homeowner is a local contractor who rehabbed the house for himself and lived in it for several years. I know this, because he's my buddy's wife's uncle. It was merely a coincidence, but the first time my buddy came over to the house he was telling us about how they used to play poker in the basement.

Anyway, my point is that the guy didn't cut corners in this house. It has pretty high end features like all Grohe fixtures, white marble tile in the bathrooms, heated floors, etc... the kinds of things no sane contractor would spend money on with a flipped house. Not to mention the workmanship is damn near perfect on everything from grout to hardwood floors to the sheetrock and trim. So there's no way he would route a flex gas line around the outside of the utility closet door frame or drill a random hole through the sheetrock to fish this pump hose through, as you can see in these photos. There are also a few different access panels and plywood coverings that look very out of place in this closet. There's nothing like this elsewhere in the house.

One of the photos I took shows that someone cut right into the casing of the air handler, which makes me wonder if access is a problem for this unit. The last (and only) noted service date was from 2013 and only lists regular maintenance.

I tried to take photos under the unit, but they didn't come out really well. I can't see any evidence of a drain in the units pan, but again it's hard to see. What i did find that seems odd to me is an open 2" (est.) PVC pipe sticking out of a cutout in the wall behind the unit. If you look at the photo with the red circle, that is the rough cut PVC opening. The pipe running above is the unit's exhaust. So I'm wondering what that open pipe is for. Perhaps it's the original condensate drain? Shouldn't be a plumbing vent stack, since it's open to the living area, right? Only other thing I can think of is it was an exhaust vent from the basement, but then it would have been pre-2006. It certainly looks newer, after all it is PVC.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
rfehr613 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2020, 05:40 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 525
Rewards Points: 906
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


Pic still not clear, tough spot I guess. If the a/c and furnace both drain into the condensate pump then the pump is part of the primary drain system. The pan the furnace sits in is the secondary drain. The pump will operate during heating and cooling season. The pump discharge tubing should go into the washing machine wall box drain. If you don't feel like doing that yourself, it will be a very minor cost to have a service tech do it when the system is checked out.
57TinkerMan is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to 57TinkerMan For This Useful Post:
rfehr613 (06-01-2020)
Old 06-01-2020, 06:03 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 70
Rewards Points: 16
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 57TinkerMan View Post
Pic still not clear, tough spot I guess. If the a/c and furnace both drain into the condensate pump then the pump is part of the primary drain system. The pan the furnace sits in is the secondary drain. The pump will operate during heating and cooling season. The pump discharge tubing should go into the washing machine wall box drain. If you don't feel like doing that yourself, it will be a very minor cost to have a service tech do it when the system is checked out.
This must have been changed at some point then. My wife did have Samsung techs come out to look at the old washer and dryer units, but i thought that was years ago. They're the only ones who could have moved the hose since they were the only techs she ever hired.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
rfehr613 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2020, 06:54 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 70
Rewards Points: 16
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


We pulled records and tracked down the timing of everything. The discharge in the shower began December 2019. The washer started leaking around the same time, but we didn't replace it until 2/9/20. Absolutely nobody touched either system around that time.

This leads me to a theory. The old washing machine used to shake violently during the spin cycle due to an imbalanced load from the corroded spider arm. I'm thinking maybe the condensate hose was originally in the washer drain in the wall box, but the violent shaking caused it to fall out and it just happened to land in the washer pan. The hose is excessively long for simply reaching the pan, so that might be it. Anyway, I'm going to try to put it in the wall box. If it doesn't reach, then there goes my theory lol

BTW, here's a video I just took of the discharge. Cam audio isn't the greatest quality, but you get the point. It's loud as ****.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qTe...w?usp=drivesdk

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
rfehr613 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2020, 04:30 AM   #9
An old Tradesmen
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 39,265
Rewards Points: 98
Default

Re: Is a condensate pump supposed to backup a primary drain line?


That condensate pump operates in both the summer and winter. As that is a condensing furnace.

As said earlier, the hose probably went to the washer drain, and was vibrated out.

On a cold day, that furnace can produce more than 5 gallons of water in 24 hours, same with the A/C on a hot muggy day.
__________________
When posting in certain forums, knowing your location will help others give better feedback/advice/solutions to your questions.
beenthere is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts