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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Is a Secondary Condensate Drain Line Necessary ? New upflow coil replacement.

    Hello, Thank You in advance for your help !

    First a little info - old system & new system:

    So, I'm trying to help my elderly aunt with her broken AC.

    Location - Woodland Hills, CA

    Will be replacing the 23 year old Coil and the Condenser. Coil has a leak at the inside coil (electronic sniffer found a leak, found by one of the Contractors submitting a bid). Also, condensate pan is rusted and has a small hole in the bottom (reason for getting a new system - found water on garage floor).



    Old system -

    Outside Condenser - 5 ton "Rheem Classic X" - Model # RAKA-060JAZ.

    Inside Coil - no name on the Coil except, "Refrigerant Evaporator" - Model # HCU 061 Q6 (Rheem could not find any information on this Coil).



    New system -

    Condenser Model # - Carrier 24AAA560A003

    Coil Model # - Carrier CNPVP6024ALA

    Includes: Safety Switch-Y / 1st Condensate Line-Y / 2nd Condensate Lines-No / Line Flush-Y /Condenser Pad-Y / Thermostat-Y / Switch Box-? / TXV R410A-Y / Earthquake Straps- Y / Insulation on refrigeration lines - ?



    Contractor says a Secondary line is not necessary.

    Currently there is only a Primary Line (in estimate to be modified), no Secondary line currently installed (in estimate no work to be done). As the Primary Line needs to be modified, it seems it would be simple to add a Secondary Line at this time and an easy modification.

    I would like the Condensate Lines - both the Primary Line and the Secondary Line to have a clean out section installed (with a cut off valve).

    Suggestions ? ? ?

    My thinking is - in the heat of Woodland Hills summer, Primary line clogs, then the Secondary Line will still work until the Primary line can be fixed (trying to avoid days without an AC if the fix can't be done right away). Have the Safety Switch installed on the Secondary Line.

    Also (if need be), I can yearly clean out both lines with the clean out section installed in the lines - just something simple I can access, maybe where the safety switch is located ?, to clear with water or air. Cut off valve so I don't back flow any water/air into the coil.

    Lastly, is a P trap or a Vent necessary / required in an Upflow coil ?

    Again thank you for any help / suggestions / advice

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    nebraska
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    Running the secondary isn't required. Ask them to run if you want one. The worst that can happen is they say it will be extra to the bid.

  3. #3
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    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyinlincoln View Post
    Running the secondary isn't required. Ask them to run if you want one. The worst that can happen is they say it will be extra to the bid.

    Thank you martyinlincoln for your quick reply. I will discuss with the contractor - I am assuming the bid will increase marginally for the 2nd drain line.

    What do you think about the Secondary line running down to a pan next to the system. The system (furnace, air handler, coil) are in a closet in the garage. There is space (approx. 6" by 24" deep) between the furnace and the return duct. Also, place in the pan a shut off float type switch / sensor ? ? ?

    Thanks again
    Danny

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    Is there a utility sink in the garage? Usually the secondary drains into a sink or in front of a window to let the homeowner know something is wrong. This way it won't shut it down but she can call someone before the secondary clogs. A p-trap is not required when the coil is after the blower as it's under positive pressure, but I'd recommend a product like E-Z Trap on the secondary drain.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2010
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    nebraska
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helping Aunt L View Post
    Thank you martyinlincoln for your quick reply. I will discuss with the contractor - I am assuming the bid will increase marginally for the 2nd drain line.

    What do you think about the Secondary line running down to a pan next to the system. The system (furnace, air handler, coil) are in a closet in the garage. There is space (approx. 6" by 24" deep) between the furnace and the return duct. Also, place in the pan a shut off float type switch / sensor ? ? ?

    Thanks again
    Danny
    The difference between doing that or sticking a eztrap with float switch on the primary or secondary is minimal. The AC is only going to run a short while before it fills the pan and trips the float. Might be better to know the line is plugged right away instead of finding out after hours and having to pay emergency rates.

  6. #6
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    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyinlincoln View Post
    The difference between doing that or sticking a eztrap with float switch on the primary or secondary is minimal. The AC is only going to run a short while before it fills the pan and trips the float. Might be better to know the line is plugged right away instead of finding out after hours and having to pay emergency rates.

    Hi martyinlincoln,

    1.) This is exactly what I am trying to avoid - "instead of finding out after hours and having to pay emergency rates."

    This is the reason why I feel a Secondary line should be installed. So if the Primary line is clogged (of course it will happen on the hottest day/night of the year), then the Secondary will still work, until I can go to my Aunt's to unclog (with the clean out in the line) whatever is clogging the line. Or, if need be, have the unit serviced by the installer.

    With only the Primary line (no Secondary line) - the safety switch will stop the AC if the line is clogged. Then there is no AC until someone can fix it.

    Plus my Aunt is not good at all in any kind of emergency or if her daily routine is changed.


    2.) Thank you also for your thoughts on the pan next to the furnace. I didn't realize the pan would fill up that quickly. I measured today, a Removable pan could be - 6" Wide x 33" Deep x 3" or 4" High, or more).

    Seems that I should just have the contractor run the Secondary line to the outside. Secondary line to the side of the house, this is where the Primary is run. Primary empties onto the concrete walk way on the side of the house, about 2 inches from a drain in the concrete walk way on the side of the house.

    Trying to keep costs down, I was thinking to have the Secondary run to the same outside wall - on the other side of the Water Heater closet door, from the Primary line. The Primary line is run a short distance from the Coil in the garage, but has to go around a Water Heater closet (which opens on the Outside of the house).

    Always willing to listen to more advice - thanks again !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    Is there a utility sink in the garage? Usually the secondary drains into a sink or in front of a window to let the homeowner know something is wrong. This way it won't shut it down but she can call someone before the secondary clogs. A p-trap is not required when the coil is after the blower as it's under positive pressure, but I'd recommend a product like E-Z Trap on the secondary drain.

    Hello Makeitcold,

    1.) Thank you for your suggestions (unfortunately there is no utility sink in the garage) - Please read Post #6 for more information and questions.

    2.) Also, trying to keep costs down (instead of running the Secondary to drip in front of a window - which would be a long run), I was thinking to have the Secondary run to the same outside wall as the Primary. But the Secondary would exit the outside wall on the other side of the Water Heater closet door, from the Primary line. The Primary line is run a short distance from the Coil in the garage to the outside wall, but has to go around a Water Heater closet. The Water Heater closet door opens on the Outside side of the house.

    3.) This is my exact reasoning for having the Secondary line installed - "to let the homeowner know something is wrong. This way it won't shut it down [the AC] but she can call someone before the secondary clogs".

    Yes, have an E-Z Trap (or an SS1 or SS2 float switch) on the Secondary drain. Of course only one of the recommended devices on the Secondary line. No switch on the Primary line.

    4.) "p-trap is not required when the coil is after the blower as it's under positive pressure"

    Is an "up-flow" Coil under positive pressure ?

    I have been told the Coil is an up flow Coil. Also the arrangement of the system is - furnace, then blower on top of furnace, then coil on top of blower.

    Thank you Makeitcold

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    If the air is being pushed out of the blower thru the coil then it’s positive pressure, if the air is being pulled thru the coil and into the blower then it’s negative pressure. If you have a gas furnace the coil SHOULD be under positive pressure. Not to say it isn’t done wrong but it sounds like your fine. Air handlers are USUALLY under negative pressure as the air goes thru the coil before the blower.

    I commend you for taking care of your aunt and keeping her bills low. Maybe run the primary out the bottom of the wall and run the secondary out 4’ higher and tell her to call you if it’s draining out the top pipe. She may not remember but it gives you two drains and finally a switch so that the garage doesn’t flood or water doesn’t pour onto the blower motor or circuit boards

  9. #9
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    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    If the air is being pushed out of the blower thru the coil then it’s positive pressure, if the air is being pulled thru the coil and into the blower then it’s negative pressure. If you have a gas furnace the coil SHOULD be under positive pressure. Not to say it isn’t done wrong but it sounds like your fine. Air handlers are USUALLY under negative pressure as the air goes thru the coil before the blower.

    I commend you for taking care of your aunt and keeping her bills low. Maybe run the primary out the bottom of the wall and run the secondary out 4’ higher and tell her to call you if it’s draining out the top pipe. She may not remember but it gives you two drains and finally a switch so that the garage doesn’t flood or water doesn’t pour onto the blower motor or circuit boards

    Makeitcold - Gas furnace, 23 year old system. Small leak in Coil pan / small freon leak in the coil of the Coil - replacing Coil and Condenser. System worked fine until stated issues. My aunt almost never uses the furnace for heat. So I'm assuming everything runs fine. I turned on the heat a couple of weeks ago - just to check - all 4 'burners' started right up - heat out the register.

    My Aunt L is like a second mother to me so I'm just glad I can help. Yes, this is what I was thinking - the Secondary a little higher than the Primary. Also, the way the side of the house concrete walk way is, the Secondary would drip down on the concrete and flow to a different drain. Might also remind her if she ever notices - plus I will be around to check and I'm going to have the system serviced once a year.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2018
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    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    Recommend having the heat exchanger inspected on the furnace before replacement. Better to know now how deep the rabbit hole goes before there’s a cold snap and you find out the furnace needs replacing as well

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    Recommend having the heat exchanger inspected on the furnace before replacement. Better to know now how deep the rabbit hole goes before there’s a cold snap and you find out the furnace needs replacing as well
    So I googled "furnace heat exchanger". I now know basically what it is and what is does. Here in Woodland Hills, California my Aunt never really (let's just say, never turns on the heat) uses her heat.

    How would I check this ? Is this something I can check on my own (visual inspection / condition monitor) ?

    Who checks Heat Exchangers ? AC Installer ?

    I turned on the heater a couple of weeks ago - all 4 burners light up like rockets and heat came out the vent. Then I turned it off.

    Thank you

  12. #12
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    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    Is there a utility sink in the garage? Usually the secondary drains into a sink or in front of a window to let the homeowner know something is wrong. This way it won't shut it down but she can call someone before the secondary clogs. A p-trap is not required when the coil is after the blower as it's under positive pressure, but I'd recommend a product like E-Z Trap on the secondary drain.
    Makeitcold - talked with the installer on Friday.

    He was adamant that a Secondary drain line was not needed.

    Said that if I signed up for their yearly maintenance - the Primary line would never clog. The Secondary line would never be needed. The way they do the Secondary drain line is to put on a float switch (I believe an SSI or SSII ?).

    I listened to his reasoning - it makes since. If the system is maintained then it - should - never clog. With that being said, I would feel better if my Aunt's new system had some other type of redundancy.

    The redundancy being the Secondary drain line installed - with some type of cut off switch on the Secondary line.

    The installer again said this is not how they do it and I do not want the system to run that way. That I don't want a cut off switch on the Secondary drain line.

    I feel like I am being logical - with all that I have read here on HVAC. Is the Secondary drain line required - I guess it is not.

    Is there any thing / issue / damage I am not understanding - that could be caused by a Secondary drain line being installed - and also with some type of cut off switch ? ? ?

    I am also going to ask the installer what is code (as this is permitted work) ? And what is recommended by the manufacturer ?

    As an aside - the installer's suggestion, when after listening to his reasons why I do not need a Secondary drain line installed and I then saying that I do want one - he suggested to run the Secondary drain line down through the deck, which the furnace sits on (system is in a closet in the garage raised about 12" from the garage floor) and exiting about 6" below the deck through the drywall - to drain onto the garage floor. My aunt has all kinds of stuff in boxes in the garage - sitting on the garage floor. I was the one to suggest having the Secondary line drain to the outside walk way.

    Should I be worried about this installer, until Friday everything seemed great ?

    Thank you

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    I have had drains clog on me after I did maintenance on them. A spider or other critter. makes a home in one. I’ve seen a smoker cigarette pile outside of a garage that smouldered and melted the plastic tubing. This took me a long time in a hot attic to realize I was in the wrong place.

    Just because you clean a drain in April doesn’t mean something else won’t get in there in July.

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