Trane Convertible Air Handlers 1-1/2 - 5 Ton
I'm a home owner with no HVAC experience except owner maintenance normally required for an a/c system I'm one of several homeowners who have the same problem with the same Trane air handlers. I have the subject air handler model GAM5A0A24M21SAA. It was installed new 06/2011. Last month (09/2012), some sort of algae in the tray under the coil prevented the water from reaching the primary drain line. The water overflowed, essentially falling into the airflow (which is up) and the water fell to the ground in the closet in which it is installed. From there, the water seeped into the concrete slab and leeched into 2 adjoining rooms rooms with laminate flooring. Major sections of the laminate popped and warped .
The best description of the "algae" is it looks like snot (sorry about that). I live in southeast Georgia and it has rained nearly every day last summer so our humidity has essentially been 100% for 3 solid months. When I my installer/service technician ("ST"), he removed the top panel (behind which is the coil), shined a light into the drain tray, saw a glob of "algae", went outside to where the drain line ends, put a vacuum to the drain line and sucked about a handful of "algae" out of the tray under the coil. The backed up water then flowed out and I paid him $ for the visit plus buying and having replacement laminate installed - I'm out several hundred $$.
No where in my user manual/maintenance procedures, etc. does it mention checking for algae in the drain tray. In fact, my documentation specifically states there are no user serviceable componets behing that panel (the coil section) and not to even open it.
1. Does anyone else have this algae problem? I have 4 neighbors here with the same Trane air handler/algae problem (I will get to them shortly);
2. Is there a way to make the algae stop growing in there? How can I go on vacation for the summer, leaving my air handler to make algae the whole time and ruining the floors? The mold would be right behind the water.
3. Do you think Trane has some responsibility for the damage caused? I have one neighbor in particular that has a) thousands of $$ of damage (their air handler is on the second floor, the water is backing up and falling into the main ducting; from there it is being blown everywhere and leaking through nearly every duct joint. They literally have water spots/dripping showing up somewhere new every day. The ST has been unable to remove and stop the algae and get the water flowing properly into the main drain to this day.
4. Do you think Trane needs to find a solution and fix these air handlers at their expense?
Thank you in advance for your assistance
Last edited by beenthere; 10-10-2012 at 06:10 PM.
Algea growth is not a product problem, its a maint. Issue. Coils, drains and drain lines should be cleaned, cleared and treated once a year at minimum
May need to use a bio-side on those coils.
might also want to consider having a UV light installed to prevent any growth on the coil or in the pan.
UV lights really do work well, I was skeptical at first but all the units we have installed them the coil and pan still look brand new clean. Pan tablets work somewhat. Any unit above a living space (building code) and IMO in the living space like a closet (not a code in my area) should have a aux pan with a cut out switch and/or secondary drain on it to prevent damage from clogged or leaking primary drains.
I use a pan under the unit with a cut-off switch too. It sounds like your drain may have been clogged from the older unit and not the new one. I've had this happen once before. Changed out the unit and didn't blow out the drain. The drain clogged and the floor got wet.
You're only as good as your customer will allow you to be.........If they want junk, sell them junk, but make your junk look neat!!!
Do you have pets OP? High humidity+ pet dander= rapid slime growth. Even new systems require regular maintenance. You wouldn't skip oil changes on a new car and your AC is no less important. I second the UV light recommendation and also a filtration upgrade. Neither Trane nor the contractor are responsible for this. The only thing the contractor should do is recommend additional safeties (assuming they installed it correctly) and set up a scheduled maintenance plan. An emergency pan may not be required by code but it is always good practice to use one.
Originally Posted by k-fridge