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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    613

    Copper Drainline

    What is the purpose for a drainline for a regular HP to be made of copper vice PVC? I work for the gubernment, and many thing's do not make sence, but this one has me stumped. I ran the line as per drawings, and insulated it inside the warehouse space. I joked about it. The Public Works Engineer's told me if a drain line crosses a human occupied space, it must not be PVC. Well, words to that effect anyway. I say B.S. If it's fire they are worried about, melted PVC from a HVAC system is the least of their worries.

    We have a computor room with 3 Liebert AC systems that have built in humidification. I can understand the copper drain lines for that, in case the humidification circuit fails and steam travels down the drain, but Resi grade Trane HP's?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    carthage ms
    Posts
    630
    i did a dr's house one time and he wanted all drains in copper, and paid extra for it, he stated that algea and other bacteria cant grow on/in copper, have no proof of it other than what he said, but as i think about it, ive never been back to that job for a clogged drain line, (job is 8+ yrs old) something to think about
    The 2008 NATE TOP TECH!!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    253
    The reason thats been given to me is that in a fire, pvc when burned, gives off a lethal gas. There has been fires where this product has been installed and the people inside were killed where normal smoke would have allowed them to escape. Most of the commercial building code that I have had to deal with gives this reason.











    t

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    149
    When PVC melts it forms chlorine gas, which as previously stated can be deadly. It was even used as a chemical weapon by Germany in WWI.

    If exposed to it, it mixes with water in body fluids and can form hydrochloric acid in the person's lungs.

    You aren't supposed to run PVC exposed in air plenums or occupied spaces, unless it's plenum rated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dallas ,Texas
    Posts
    3,705
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacman14 View Post
    i did a dr's house one time and he wanted all drains in copper, and paid extra for it, he stated that algea and other bacteria cant grow on/in copper, have no proof of it other than what he said, but as i think about it, ive never been back to that job for a clogged drain line, (job is 8+ yrs old) something to think about
    The history channel once had a program about copper and said copper kills off a large percentage of bacteria that was why it was used heavily in hospitals and old hand rails.
    UA 100

    It takes three people to do anything around here. Two do the work, one explains to the crowd of people who showed up when they seen smoke and flames.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    1,493
    What about the PVC drains and p-traps that are under virtually every bathroom and kitchen sink in the country? And I haven't seen a copper drain line on an upflow horizontal installed in a closet in the home's interior in a very, very long time. Go look in a large commercial kitchen sometime and note all the PVC used there. You should never use standard PVC for a T&P relief line on a water heater or boiler though.

    I agree that it gives off toxic gases when burned but there is way more PVC used in the products in your home than an AC drain line.
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,547
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacman14 View Post
    i did a dr's house one time and he wanted all drains in copper, and paid extra for it, he stated that algea and other bacteria cant grow on/in copper, have no proof of it other than what he said, but as i think about it, ive never been back to that job for a clogged drain line, (job is 8+ yrs old) something to think about
    I have cleared many, many copper drains of a nasty algal muck.

    Not buying that one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    464
    I have seen Medical Buildings that used Water Source Heat Pumps in every suite. They had PVC water lines and drain lines on every one of them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13
    I work for a company that makes WSHP units. We use copper to make our condensate drains because it is commonly available. I doubt anybody here ever considered copper does kill fungus. It is commonly used as a fungicide for trees and shrubs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    644
    One thing is that copper lasts longer. Even if for no other reason. I mean, how often have you seen pvc drain lines that are old and brittle and cracked? I have seen a ton of it. It is more expensive, but if I were going to install my own unit, it would be copper and not PVC just so I know it won't break as easily. FWIW I have always seen only copper drain lines in walk in fridges and freezers. It is probably code there. In freezers, you have to attach heat tape to the condensate drain so the line doesn't freeze up so only metal would work.

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