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Thread: Out in the cold
02-14-2006, 10:10 AM #1Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
- Virginioa Beach, Virginia
I live in a 2 story 2 zone heating and air conditioning home in Virginia Beach. My home is heated by 2 Janitrol furnaces located in the attic. One of the units (Downstairs) is a high efficiency unit (AFUE 92.6). the other (upstairs) unit is rated at AFUE 80.0. The problem I have is as follows: When the temperature stays below freezing (believe it or not it does that in Virginia) for several days, an icicile forms between the dischage line located outside the house ( its 1" pvc protruding 4" from the siding and about 14" above the ground. If I dont regularly go outside to kick the icicile from under the discharge line then then the water will back up all the way to the attic, fill the drip pan around the furnace and then dump water in the attic causing severe water damage. I know these units are probably being used in places like Buffalo NY, so my question is what do I do. I would like to know what to ask a HVAC contractor to "FIX" so that this problem will go away. Right now I have a Bucket filled with rock salt under the discharge line. I punched holes in the bucket for water thats been melted by the rock salt to escape. I periodically add rock salt to the bucket as needed. There has got to be a BETTER WAY!! HELP PLEASE.
02-14-2006, 10:17 AM #2Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
I assume this is the condensate discharge line ? Can you move the discharge line to parallel the exhaust vent of the furnace ? This will keep it warm and avoid your problem. Another option is to keep the discharge line completely indoors in conditioned or semiconditioned space.l
02-14-2006, 10:34 AM #3
That discharge line should be piped indoors. If the unit is in the attic, you may be able to get away with piping it into a soil stack vent. Be sure to check local codes. Also, that pan under the unit should have a safety float that will shut the unit down if the pan fills up. You can even connect an audible alarm to it, or a visual alarm, like a light that will come on in the living space. If your current contractor has not mentioned this, then it may be time to look for a new contractor.
Please be sure to post your findings and remedy so all may learn and/or advise further.R2B4BTU
02-14-2006, 10:53 AM #4
More than likely running the dishcage parrelel to the vent won't be able to drain due to the upward pich of the vent and the downward pich of the drain.
Fhis is a common problem with attic installs. I typically install 80% efficient units in attics to avoid this problem because I will get a unit that does not condensate at all. but in this case, if you do not want to replace the uni, you will have to run a full waste line up to the unit from below. the easiest way to do this in an exhisting structure that I've found is to tap off of the waste line in the bathroom.(usually there is one located upstairs.) Insulate all of the new drain line in the attic accordingly.
The first floor furnace room should have a drain in the floor. If it doesn't, I would have one installed, or I would invest in a condensate pump to pump the condensates to the nearest drains. This won't work in the attic, because the water in the condensate pump will have a tendency to freeze.
I can't beleive that someone would vent conensate from a furnace outside. This is a big reason why this is a no no. The A/C is ok because it is warm outside when the unit is discharging, but flue gas condensate is also very acidic and will fade siding accordingly. DUH!!!
Please post these pics on the wall of shame for our entertainment!
and good luck with the changes!
02-14-2006, 11:38 AM #5
self regulating heat tape and insulation.
02-14-2006, 12:42 PM #6
can you run heat tape outdoors within code?
02-14-2006, 01:20 PM #7
good question. use it in walk-in freezers all the time so weather is not an issue. have had it on lines sticking out thru wall and never got turned down by inspectors.
02-14-2006, 01:32 PM #8
sounds like that might be a solution, just make sure that the condensate doesn't touch the wall at all.(it is acidic and will fade most types of siding and brick.)
02-14-2006, 01:55 PM #9Professional Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
read the package | instructions for heat tape.
generally, one adds insulation over the heat tape with an overall covering, so exposure to sunlight is not an issue -- commercial & LOTS in industrial piping ( thousands of miles of this)!harvest rainwater,make SHADE,R75/50/30= roof/wall/floor, use HVAC mastic,caulk all wall seams!