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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    9

    water in a/c overflow pan

    Hi there,

    I know this topic had been covered before, but I was not able to resolve my problem. Please help. I have an a/c technician came out and look at the overflow of water out to the outside of my house. He tried to blow freon into some kind of tube in the attic next to the inside a/c unit. He said he put some liquid that is stronger than bleach in but did not help. He said I will have to get a plumber out to check other clog. About 6 months before this, I have another a/c technician came out because of the same issue. This guy actually went inside the inside a/c unit and drop some pills inside. He said this will desolve the algae. And sure enough the water stop overflow through the tube outside of my house, but for what seems to be a very short period of time. While he was out, I have asked him how long before I need to get the pills put inside the a/c again. He said service the a/c once a year, that should take care of it.

    Can someone please tell me what I should do? How can I prevent this happen every 6 months? What causes this and what can I do??? Please help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lilburn, Georgia
    Posts
    53
    At the risk of repeating earlier replies...have you checked that the condenser cab is angled toward the outflow drainpipe. I say this as someone who watched a qualified and trusted rep use a level to check our enclosure - it was always found to be level but level resulted in the water actually draining to the back of the unit and then to the overflow tray. This installation mistake was reviewed at least three times before I called another company who found the problem within minutes of arrival.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    west point, ga.
    Posts
    328
    What all did the tech check?Did he check your evap coil?Did he check your charge?How old is your system?When the fan cycles off does the water come pouring out?Add a little more info and I am sure someone might be able to help.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    9
    If I accidentally post this again.. sorry... I thought I replied but I was logged off and therefore, I am not quite sure if this is a repeat or not.

    Marlet - please explain what the condenser cab is - is that the same as the overflow pan? And the overflow drainpipe - that is the white pvc pipe that goes from the overflow pan to the outside of the house, right? I have not checked that at all. Could you please help me to understand what the condeser cab is so I can check? Sorry, I am sooo clueless about a/c and the tech terms of the parts.

    RDP - because I was complaining the house was not cooling down and the a/c was constantly running without stopping. He checked the freon and said that there was only 3 lbs of freon left. He said that I might have a small leak, and he filled up the freon (added 12 lbs). He did say he will come back out in Sept to see how the freon was holding and if it is not holding then he will look for the leak or I can get someone else to find the leak. He had some sort of meters (one blue which showed 80 and one red which has 210 - where should have been 230). He said if the house did not cool down as it should, we might have to look at the compressor, but since the house finally cool down over night, the compressor was ruled out. He went into the attic and cut the pvc pipe and blew freon into it to try to clear the clog. He said something about a wire was disconnected and that's why the a/c did not know to bring cool air inside. The house cooled for 1 day and the temp started to climb again. He came back out this time he looked at the outside unit right at the same place where he connected the freon and said the dryer/filter (?) was bad (it looks like a smaller version of an oil filter with a rod attached to each end). So he replaced that and added another 12lbs (which he charged me again). It seems to be working now other than the dripping of water through the pipe to the side of my house.

    My house is only 4 1/2 years old, so I would have to say the a/c is about the same age. The water drips constantly while the a/c running as well as when the a/c is idle. About the charge is that the red and blue meter - if that is it yes, one said 80 and the other said 210 (he said something about this should have been 230 and he could not bring it up to 230; therefore, he thought the problem was the compressor)

    I have to apologize because I really do not know the technical terms. I know he explained to me with the tech terms, but I could not remember and I did not think that I would be in this dilemma

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    west point, ga.
    Posts
    328
    I might be wrong but it sounds like he is blowing smoke........
    I will keep my comments short because I was not there.He should have charged by super heat or sub cool.Also remember if you have to add freon you have a leak.He could have some how missed the filter dyer the first time and over charged the unit but like I said I wasn't there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    west point, ga.
    Posts
    328
    By the way it sounds like it froze up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    9
    RDP - are you talking about the coil is froze up? is that the tube going from the outside unit into the house? Can you explain or can you direct me to where I can go and check? Thank you so much for your suggestions. I think we kinda figured out that we will not be using him when he did not check for the leak and we have to pay for the freon 2x... Everything is a lesson learn... thank you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lilburn, Georgia
    Posts
    53
    disclosure - I am a homeowner and not a tech -

    Here is my understanding....

    Condenser cab (aka cabinet) - this is the box (or one of them) that sits above the emergency water tray - it is where the condenser coil is located and is the first just before the air handler (or furnace as you should have either an air handler or a furnace in your setup). If this is not clear ask the tech on the next visit to take a marker and write the component names and direction of airflow on the outside of the units.

    The condenser coil drips water which then (if I am not mistaken) follows the flow of gravity to find a path to your drainpipe. There may be other designs but this is how I understand a conventional setup. So - find the condenser and with a level, check that the front of the cabinet has a small tilt in the direction of the PVC drainpipe. If water drains another direction it will hit the emergency drain pan - which should only be used in the event of the drainpipe itself clogging. In my own case (just this week) I found that the cabinet was perfectly level when it should have been tilted toward the outflow pipe.

    Now with regard to the drainpipe, this is actually easier than it appears to test and has also probably been covered countless times on this site better than what I will write - so use the search option after you read what I have to offer and get other advice from the pros. The drainpipe is either clogged or not - it's just a pipe. If you disconnect it at both ends and blow air or pour water - it should come out at the other end. Unless you have the ability to disconnect and reconnect pvc (or whatever is being used) I'd leave this for the tech. The main issue here is that you are the one that needs to be satisfied that the pipe is clear and not the problem. These pipes generally require a routine maintenance procedure by any homeowner to keep clean - a monthly cap (note not cup just the cap) of clorex is the same as the tabs the tech dropped in.

    So - my apologies for repeating any info posted by others.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    maryland, baltimore
    Posts
    135
    The first problem is that you are reffering to the evaporater cabinet (indoor section). 2nd is what size and mfg of unit are we talking about. 12 lbs of refrigerant is a lot for most residential units +3lbs that he claims was in the system. Are you sure that the tech blew the drain out with refrigerant( freon is a registered brand name and not a specifc type of refrigerant) and an illegal practice. The pressures you state are of little relavence with out other specifics like outdoor air temp, indoor temp/humidity. If the coil has no air flow- frozen- blocked filter, fan not running, then your system is overcharged by now. He told you that the dryer is plugged, again grossly overcharged by now and causing damage. The drain line is a good source of water and most rodent and insects will try to build in it or around the outlet. If you cut the drain line yhe tech should have a drain dawg or a sealing plug to force nitrogen through most clogs. However if there are more than one unit connected to that pipe the clog will move to the next tee and block it as well.
    If the unit was frozen and the drain is clear it will take a few days to dry out and when the fan shuts off water will drip.
    You should find a qualified company to service the unit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    443
    Do both drain lines come outside or is the primary hooked into your house drain? Around here, both would go outside with the overflow being the one that terminates higher from the ground. What size are the lines? Should be 3/4 PVC. The only time you have water coming out the overflow is when you have a problem.

    You need another tech that won't add 12 lbs of refrigerant and not bother to find the leak. You need that leak found first. Then if it's a feasible repair, the coils (both) need to be cleaned before it is recharged, and the drain line opened up or replaced. With a properly operating system, yearly service, and filter changes once a month, you should never have to worry about a clogged drain.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    881
    Problem: Water coming out of secondary drain line and filling the AC secondary pan.

    Possible causes I've seen.:

    1. Primary drain line clogged or collapsed.

    2. Condensation pan primary outlet is blocked by rust, mud, biological growth, dead animals or other form of debris.

    3. Debris has plugged primary pan outlet just inside of the piping fitting (in an area where the piping changes internal diameter, narrow areas clog first) I've seen a pan filled with water and no debris visible, the drain opening narrows where the pipe connector attaches to pan and was clogged there.

    4. I rarely find a pan out of level.

    5. I occasionally find a rusted out metal primary drain pan causing water to drip out of the sides of the evaporator case into the furnace, secondary pan or attic cealing. Most pans are now made of plastic and don't rust (they crack when someone was rough with or overtightened the drain line)

    6. Occasionally a dirty evaporator coil or dirty air filters will prevent water from draining from the condensation pan due to high positive (seldom) or high negative air pressure (all the time on heat pumps).

    *** NOTE *** Sometimes a wet vac applied to the condensation drain line will remove clogs all the way back to the condensation pan. 5 minutes of vacuum may be necessary to get it all. Any vents in the drain line need to be capped during the clog clearing attempt and reopened after the attempt. A wet vac will not pull a dead rodent through the drain line.

    Sometimes there is no substitute for opening the evaporator coil case and looking at the primary condensate pan.
    “I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    9
    Martlet – thank you for the description. I will try to go and look to see if I can find them.

    Frank slusher – I have a 13.5 seer, York a/c. The model is H2RE060S06A. It does say R22 – factory charge 15lb 13 oz. I might be wrong about it being the Freon that he used to blow into the tube, but it comes in a yellow tank like the green tank he used to fill up the Freon.

    Model m-man – I only saw 1 pvc pipe came sticking out at the side of the house close to the roof. It looks like maybe a ½ to maybe Ύ inches pvc. Funny, but the second time he came out I made the same comment… I should have insisted more when he told me there is a possible that I have a small leak and that he will come back out in September to check to see how the Freon is holding up. Yep, looking back I wished I have been more persistent with making him find the leak. Live and learn… My a/c does not have a filter. I asked that and the original installer said no I do not have to change the filter because my ac does not have it. I thought I was strange but did not think anything else of it since all the a/c in my block did not have filters in them either.

    Allan38 – I spoke with my brother in law and he said he has used the wet vac to push out the clog before. He said he will help me with this. We will try this to see if it will work

    Just a note – I asked my last technician why I need a plumber because I do not see any where in my house that either the water slowed down or clogged up. He said he had 2 clients where he tried to clear their lines and the water still drips to the outside drain. He said he told them the same to call the plumber since he could not unclog their lines and sure enough the plumber was able to clear the lines. Could someone please explain that for me? Should I see a slow down or a clog somewhere else within the house too?

    Thank you everyone for trying to help me. I hope I can resolve this soon. I know now to hire a well known company to come out and fix my a/c. We will definitely try the wet vac to see if we can force the clog out. While I am up there, I will try check all of the areas have suggested by everyone to see if I can see anything. If anyone else has any more ideas please help. thank you again.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    9
    P S - I have a 5 tons unit with a damper system. They said the 5 tons should be plenty for the size of my house, which is over 3,000 sqft. I argued with them about wanting 2 units, 1 for the upstairs and 1 for the downstairs, but they said the damper system is better than having 2 units. It does not pay to be a girl when it comes to these things....

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