Drain Pan below Interior A/C unit fills with water when unit is running. HELP.
I am a first-time homeowner. I am in college, and therefore do not have the money to have someone else work on my A/C unit, especially if there is a way I can fix it myself. I live in the bottom floor of a seven-story condominium. These condominiums are new and the A/C systems were installed less than one year ago. My A/C system has the exterior unit on the roof of the building and the interior unit is in a closet in our master bedroom.
I moved into the unit in January. It had a fiberglass filter which didn't do much to clean the air (the entire building was newly-renovated and there may be an abnormal amount of particles in the air), so I purchased the accordion style filter that is less transparent. I replaced this filter in March or early April. I did not replace the filter for 3 months after that, but checked it routinely to make sure it wasn't getting excessively dirty.
About 3 weeks ago, in early July, I woke up early to find a puddle of water in our bedroom floor. The drain pan below the interior A/C unit had filled with water and overflowed. I called the company that had installed the unit, and they sent a repairperson out for a service call.
Before he arrived, I removed the filter to inspect it. It was dicolored, but light still passed through it about as much as with the new one which i later put in. I put the old filter back in the unit.
The repairman came and inspected both the inside and outside units and said everything looked fine. Apparently the problems were mechanical and not maintenance-related.
Water again began to drip from the unit about a week ago. I cannot tell exactly where it is originating from, but it fills at a rate of 1-3 gallons a day. When it reaches a certain depth in the pan, some sort of cut-off switch is activated and the A/C shuts down entirely
The system still blows cold air and works fine otherwise. I am growing tired of emptying the pan every day, and am worried that I might be causing continued damage to the unit.
I scheduled a service call, and they're representative told me that the service call would not be covered by the warranty because it was a maintenance issue, not a mechanical issue. They told me this over the phone without making a service call.
A service call is 80 dollars, but i would pay nothing if it were a maintenance issue. obviously I cannot empty the drain pan forever. Should I just have the service call performed and hope for the best?
Sounds like a simple case of a plugged condensate drain pipe, or a faulty pump.
Without knowing your system there is no way to know, but most systems either gravity drain from the pan, or a pump pumps the condensate up and out.
So you either have a bad pump to fix/replace or clogged drain you need to clear.
If you cannot find the problem yourself you'll have to bite the bullet and have someone fix it. You can at least watch while they do so you can learn for next time.
You will be better off getting it fixed by a professional. If you attempt to fix it, you can cause more problems you know. Plus this is not a DIY site so you won't receive help on that aspect.
If your filter is not dirty, they can look clean and still be full of sheetrock dust. Then I would guess either improper drain setup, or a plugged drain. If you can snap pics of the air handler we may be able to tell you if it is piped properly or not, either way you need to get this straightened out before it wrecks your cabinet, or worse, electrical components in the cabinet.
You can't fix stupid
What brand of filter are you using? It could be restricting the airflow enough to cause the coil to freeze up or a negitive pressure which is holding the water in the drain pan. Even brand new some pleated filters can cause this type of problem with a marginal return air.
I would try a different filter (cheap one) and see if this makes a difference. Other than that you should call the service company back and have them repair the problem before it gets way out of control.
Its a good Life!
I have many rental homes and I DO NOT expect my tenants to be responsible for something like this. Maintenence, yes. Repairs, no.
Maintenence would be changing a filter that you can easily access.
Maintenence COULD even include keeping leaves, vegetation, garbage and junk from stopping up the condensor coils on the CU if it's outside.
Maintenence would be resetting a tripped power panel breaker.
Cleaning the condensate drain is something your landlord SHOULD have an HVAC company do every year. It's not a renter type of 'thing', unless the renter stuffed something up in the line to keep the condensate water from coming out. Don't laugh, I've had them do worse than THAT!! They ALWAYS want ME to pay for their stupidity though.
This is landlords problem, not yours... unless it's in your lease that you are responsible for maintenance and REPAIRS. (Why would anybody have such a lease?)
This is a REPAIR issue. Call landlord, ASAP.. because if you don't you CAN be held liable for the damage the water causes since 'you' know about it and he doesn't.
Landlord probably thinks 'he sent someout, problem solved', unless he hears from YOU.
Call your landlord and tell him you are afraid the water will cause other damage and could he please send someone out that can fix it.
hey jim she said she is the home owner. I would call a different ac company and pay them to diagnose the issue and if ac company says its a mechanical problem then i would get withthe original install company and have them reimburse you for the repair and if they say they wont go to the better business bureau, local news stations, post blog do what ever you can to let the other tennants in the building and your area know how the original contractor treated you
Some Photos and clarification on the OP. (I'm speaking with the builder tomorrow)
I know this is not a DiY site. I'm just trying to decide if I need to spend 80+ dollars on a service call. Please read my thread.
I am using a filter that I bought on the internet (its an unusual size that wasn't at the store), and I looked but didn't find the email which described it. The best i can say is that it looks like an accordian. It has the consistancy of a used dryer sheet, only softer. I got the filter from a seemingly reputable wholesaler and they were not cheap. I have no reason to believe that they were defective. ($60 for 12).
In the attached photos, the filter is located right above the mesh grate. only the left side closest to the pipes is wet.
Take a look and tell me what you think would be the best approach.
If there is a DiY site that anyone knows of, where I could save 80 dollars, please let me know.
And thanks, everyone for the knowledge; hopefully someday, i can give and not take.
Last edited by prufrock; 08-05-2008 at 06:37 PM.
Reason: Add photos
have the tech come back and fix that drain, the vent before the trap is keeping the water from leaving the coil and therefore spilling over the primary drain pan.
You can't fix stupid
heres your test
1. Stop everything your doing
2. Look at the unit, your bucket of water and all the things connected
3. Think how you would get the water out of the house and not into the bucket
If you succeed it was worth doing it yourself
If you fail please call someone that can do steps 1-3 and fix the problem in less than an hour
It will save you frustration home damage and the pain of emptying your bucket
Im not trying to be rude or anything but this is the truth
wish you luck
i'll give you half a diag
make sure that pump device *condensate pump* is pumping water
and a cap goes over the open pipe in the top**
put a cap on the vent before the trap. Seal it with tape if you have nothing else and have the installer come and fix it.
if it wasn't the A/C would not run, they actually hooked up the float switch. (probably because they keep having condensate issues with their installs!)
Originally Posted by jb00gz
You can't fix stupid