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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Long Island, NY
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    Milky white discharge from condensate drainage line?

    Hi all -

    I had a new Carrier split CAC system installed 6 weeks ago (2 ton condenser model 24ACC624A033 / air handler model FV4CNF002L00), and last week I noticed a dried white discharge at the exit of my down spout for the gutter that the pvc condensate line drains into. It hadn't rained for two weeks prior, so all water was from the condensate. I did a mirror-on-a-stick check of the gutter (I can't get on a ladder) and didn't see anything in there that would explain the white stuff.

    My question is: is it possible this white stuff is actually coming from the condensate? I read that R-410A refrigerant is mixed with POE oil for lubrication and that this oil can absorb water and turn acidic so I am worried about a leak of this stuff from the coils in the air handler into the drain pan. Does this kind of thing happen? Is there another explanation?

    The system is still cooling ok, and the condenser is reasonably quite when running, though it does turn on and off with what I think is an unusually loud "clank". I had a tech over two weeks ago (before there was any white discharge) and he said that it draws a lot of amps and that explains the noise. I wasn't too convinced. My previous 20 year old Comfort Maker system didn't make such a loud noise turning on and off.

    Thanks for all advice,

    - John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Long Island, NY
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    Thread Starter
    Hi again! So, none of the experts here have any ideas about this? Am I nuts for thinking this is caused by an R410A refrigerant leak into the condensate drainage pan on the air handler in the attic?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
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    All kinds of funny things can grow in the condensate pan and drain. Also fine dust could get through the air filters, collect on the coil, wash off the coil and out of the drain pan, finally down the eaves drain.
    Soon you will know, if its a refrigerant leak it should be oily to the touch.
    keep us posted.
    What is the climate?
    Regards Teddy Bear
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddy bear View Post
    All kinds of funny things can grow in the condensate pan and drain. Also fine dust could get through the air filters, collect on the coil, wash off the coil and out of the drain pan, finally down the eaves drain.
    Soon you will know, if its a refrigerant leak it should be oily to the touch.
    keep us posted.
    What is the climate?
    Regards Teddy Bear
    and a combination of dust, dirt, roof shingles all laying in the gutter mixing with the water.

    I see it quite often here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Long Island, NY
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    Thread Starter
    Hmm. In reply to both pecmsg and teddy bear: how oily to the touch? The water coming out and pooling slightly does seem to have an oily sheen on it but maybe I’m imagining it. Also, this did not start happening until about 4 weeks after the system was installed, and it never happened with my previous system. Plus, the white stuff doesn’t seem to scrub off, and when I moved the down spout, the white stuff reappeared in the new area. So far I don’t notice any change in cooling performance, and the climate here on Long Island, NY has been normal for summer: 75 - 95 with humidity from 50 to 90 %. Dew point this week is in the upper 70s. I keep the inside temperature set to 74 in the daytime and turn the system off at night.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Billington Heights, NY
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    oily sheen and white goo is often the sign of bacterial growth.

    a POE leak that big would leave a huge mess inside the coil box. have the tech check that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
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    The White goo/slim is called Zooglea. I hate that stuff. It seems to be more prevalent on systems that have evap humidifiers.

    I've had some promising results using my-calgon Gel tabs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    181
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    While the suggestions above may be correct, I think there is a good chance that it is residual oil on the fins from when they were stamped into shape prior to assembly of the coil. I used to run a coil department for a large manufacturer. The water in our test tank was always milky white from the stamping oil that rinsed off there. Even after going through the tank there was still residual oil on the fins that washed off after a few weeks of operation. If we were sending a coil straight to a lab for performance testing we had to degrease it first because the residual oil would cause some extra condensate to stay in the coil and reduce performance.

    I doubt that coils for residential product go through a water bath, as they are usually leak-checked with helium. Look in your air handler and see if you see anything obvious. If you don't, I would give it a few more weeks.

  10. Likes Core_d liked this post.

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