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  1. #1

    Air Handler in attic leaking

    I have had a recurrent leak from my attic over the past two years. It only happens when the AC is on, and has been "fixed" each time. The last few times there has been a broken pipe. Company one, the original installer, sends a different guy each time, and they are of different levels of experience. After the last time, I demanded a senior HVAC professional. He suggested a condensation pump. That would need to be serviced each year.

    I decided to get a second opinion. Company 2 tried to be nice, but I got the impression company one had seriously screwed up. The emergency drain empties onto the floor , and the drip pan is too small for the air handler. I included a picture. Not sure if you can tell anything from the picture, but the drip pan seems useless to me.


    Should I just move on, should I contact company one and give them a piece of my mind, or is there just not enough info for you to give an opinion?

    Thanks for your help and time
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    It looks to me like company one reused the existing pan and drain line, and they are both antiquated. I would recommend getting someone to lift the air handler, remove the existing pan, and install a proper one that's sized to handle the new unit. also, remove the existing drain and trap, and install new ones sloped properly to their exit. also, the pan needs to have a tattletale drain that exits above a window or doorway to alert you of a blockage that allows water into it. (the pan should never have water in it under normal conditions) also, I'd want an overflow shutoff on the main drain, and a tattletale on the secondary tap. also, a shutoff switch on the pan if water ever backs up in it.

    additionally, the freon lines are not routed properly, they should rise up above the air handler for proper oil return.

    read my signature line... it's the truth!
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...
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    Dwane Johnson
    The A/C repairman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
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    In addition to what vstech pointed out, code, and common sense, require that there be a minimum 30" working clearance and decking in front of the unit.

    Whoever installed that needs a hard punch in the nose.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    miami,fl.
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    639
    Quote Originally Posted by vstech View Post
    It looks to me like company one reused the existing pan and drain line, and they are both antiquated. I would recommend getting someone to lift the air handler, remove the existing pan, and install a proper one that's sized to handle the new unit. also, remove the existing drain and trap, and install new ones sloped properly to their exit. also, the pan needs to have a tattletale drain that exits above a window or doorway to alert you of a blockage that allows water into it. (the pan should never have water in it under normal conditions) also, I'd want an overflow shutoff on the main drain, and a tattletale on the secondary tap. also, a shutoff switch on the pan if water ever backs up in it.

    additionally, the freon lines are not routed properly, they should rise up above the air handler for proper oil return.

    read my signature line... it's the truth!
    this may be a dumb question? how would the lines running up and over the a/h make better oil return? from my understanding in the pix the suction line looks like it leaves the a/h and pitches down, I feel what ever oil leaves the evap coil it wont be going back into the evap its going to drain down to the condenser unless the lines sags or go up hill somewhere else in between.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
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    Its not really for oil return but to stop liquid migration to compressor.

    Un-safety pan

    And is that secondary drain piped to wood platform? Wow.

    Oh wait it gets worse pan drain tees into primary!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
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    25,777

  7. #7
    Thanks everyone for your input.

    Not sure how I broke the rules, my apologies.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by quantoc View Post
    Thanks everyone for your input.

    Not sure how I broke the rules, my apologies.
    You didn't that was someone else.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBKold View Post
    And is that secondary drain piped to wood platform? Wow.
    I didn't notice that before!
    I've rethought my statement that the installer needs a hard punch in the nose.
    I now feel that a solid bludgeoning is needed.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Houston,Tx.
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    16,076
    And how is the thing supposed to drain properly when that T is open at the top? That whole install is a bit of engineering, just won't say what kind of engineering.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Looks like the ole flex duct right up to the back of unit for a return plenum also.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    And how is the thing supposed to drain properly when that T is open at the top? That whole install is a bit of engineering, just won't say what kind of engineering.
    I have no problem with the open tee. that's standard procedure for condensate drains, as long as the open tee is DOWNSTREAM of the trap. it vents the drain, and gives a place for cleaning out the trap.
    the secondary appears to be open, and draining on the platform. plugging that would be my first step. the line teed into the primary drain comes from behind the unit, like from a humidifier or similar, it should run to it's own outlet, but since the a/c and humidifier should not be running at the same time, likely it's fine.

    OP,
    the air handler needs to be raised up, and a PROPER 3" deep trap installed, along with multiple safeties and a MUCH better sized pan.
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...
    The three big summer hearththrobs...
    Mel Gibson
    Dwane Johnson
    The A/C repairman

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
    Posts
    3,299
    any chance the "installers" left you the manuals for this equipment? there are specific instructions for the drainage, and refrigerant lines specified in there. if they did not, you can go online and download the manuals for your equipment.
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...
    The three big summer hearththrobs...
    Mel Gibson
    Dwane Johnson
    The A/C repairman

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