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Posted: 8/23/2004 2:08:13 PM EST
I have a LP gas forced air furnace with an outdoor electric heat pump, installed before we bought the house so I don't know that much about it (or any HVAC stuff cause I'm a dumbass), and for 6 years it's been flawless. IIRC it's only 7 years old anyway.

So, here's the dilemna. With the Heat Pump (ac) running on a hot day, I came home to find a HUGE puddle of water under it, and it was leaking out of a drain hole midway up the furnace, which it's never done before. There are two holes in the duct work just above the furnace on the duct. One is a drain that goes down to a floor drain, the other is puttied and just sitting open. Never understood its purpose but now it seems to be leaking condensation. It's been kind of humid and I suspect that's the culprit but why now and not ever before? And, what is the purpose of the second hole?

Here is what the furnace looks like, and the location of the mystery drain:


Here is the closeup of the drain(s)


Here is the ductwork above the furnace:


Haven't called anyone, for fear this is a retard-easy fix. Initially I thought the solution was to just install PVC drain down the floor from this second drain hole, but refrained for fear that I'm not supposed to and that water leaking from it was a sign of something wrong.

What say the experts?
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 2:12:29 PM EST
Second hole is an auxillary drain. It sounds from your description you have a clogged trap in your primary line.

Generally brown algae likes to grow in those after several years.

If you can blow it out (a/k/a the "Carolina Liplock") you're back in business.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 2:12:40 PM EST
Sounds like your drain line is clogged and it's overflowing out of the second hole....
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 2:38:14 PM EST
See, I just knew it was retard-easy!

Thx guys, I'll clean out the primary.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 2:47:47 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 2:53:32 PM EST
put a little bleach in the pan or algee tabs to help prevent this in the future
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 3:02:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By MickeyMouse:
The purpose of the second hole is an auxillary drain. Either plug it or install a trap and drain like hte other one. Your primary drain is plugged. Blow it out or remove and flush with garden hose. DO NOT put a lip lock on it, however, as condensate drains can harbor Legionairs Disease (Legionella bacteria).



Or worse!

READ "NO LIPS!"

BigDozer66
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 3:10:46 PM EST
The HVAC guys down here use a contraption with a rubber cone and a CO2 cartridge to blow condensate lines out. These are handy as hell since it's hard to come up with a method to pressurize airhandling units in attics and such..
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 3:12:51 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 4:40:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By MickeyMouse:
The purpose of the second hole is an auxillary drain. Either plug it or install a trap and drain like hte other one. Your primary drain is plugged. Blow it out or remove and flush with garden hose. DO NOT put a lip lock on it, however, as condensate drains can harbor Legionairs Disease (Legionella bacteria).



MickeyMouse is right of course. We caught a guy doing the "Carolina Liplock" as it would come to be known, and it became a joke around the shop afterward.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 4:45:58 PM EST
Drain clog.

Get someone to blow it out with NITROGEN gas. Works for me.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 10:07:36 PM EST
Reminds me of a funny story Looooooong time ago we used to use a low pressure gas to clear ice machine drain lines. Well this stuff was expensive. My boss decides to give us all tanks of CO2. Well one day, I go to a customers house and her ice machine bin was full of water due to a plugged drain. So I tell her to look in the bin and when I blow this gas through it, she should see bubbles.

I go outside and put the hose to the drain line, hit the valve and I hear:



WHOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!!


then I hear:


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

I run into the house to see what happened and this poor woman is DRENCHED! I felt so bad.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 10:24:57 PM EST
I used a large rubber cork/nipple with a hole drilled in it, attached to an air line. Hooked that up to the draind PFFFFFTTTTTTTT!!!!!!! The thing blew a load of brown/green goo out. Kewl!

The only downside was I cracked the fitting when putting the panel back on and now I'll end up cutting the trap and putting new plastic on anyway. Oh well, at least I fixed it.

Thanks guys, always nice to have help!
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 3:53:57 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:05:53 AM EST
Swingset, bud, you lucked out. Mine didn't leak out of the secondary as intended. Instead, it backed
up and spilled down into the furnace below, getting the burners wet, at which point they promptly
rusted bigtime. Couldn't figure why I had the furnace cranked up and still colder than shit in the
house.

Heater guy came out, found the problem quick, and cut the pipe right above the trap. When he
put the new piece back on, he didn't put on the adhesive, so that we could blow it out occasionally,
so that it wouldn't do a repeat performance. He was cool about it though, and showed me how the
burners disconnected, and I was able to go to the local furnace parts place and buy replacements,
and do the job myself. Needless to say, he got a big tip!

After seeing the crap that blew out of it, I wouldn't be too interested in doing a liplock on that thing
either. I use a section of rubber hose with an attachment that I can clip onto a compressed air
bottle.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:09:57 AM EST
Find the drain outlet, and suck out the goop with a wet vacuum. this way the sludge is drawn into the vacuum tank, not blown back into the coil so you breathe it. Ops
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:10:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 4:11:33 AM EST by StariVojnik]

Originally Posted By DrFrige:
Reminds me of a funny story Looooooong time ago we used to use a low pressure gas to clear ice machine drain lines. Well this stuff was expensive. My boss decides to give us all tanks of CO2. Well one day, I go to a customers house and her ice machine bin was full of water due to a plugged drain. So I tell her to look in the bin and when I blow this gas through it, she should see bubbles.

I go outside and put the hose to the drain line, hit the valve and I hear:



WHOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!!


then I hear:


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

I run into the house to see what happened and this poor woman is DRENCHED! I felt so bad.





Sure you did! You must have been gafawwing all day long!
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:00:26 AM EST
Why do they have a trap? My drain line is a rubber hose which goes strait down the AC/Furnace into my sump.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:12:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 5:16:06 AM EST by ovrtym]

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Why do they have a trap? My drain line is a rubber hose which goes strait down the AC/Furnace into my sump.

GunLvr



Found this bit of info:

"First, a condensate drain is not required to be trapped by any of the Codes. Most manufacturers of air conditioning components require a trap on the primary condensate line to keep conditioned air in the air handler and to prevent insects from entering the air handler through the condensate line. "


Edit to add: In which case you should plug that second drain hole.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:33:11 AM EST

Hey, what about a funk coming from my unit - what could cause that? It's an older Fedders, forced air, gas system. Any ideas?

It's really strong and stinks up our basement.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:40:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By ovrtym:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Why do they have a trap? My drain line is a rubber hose which goes strait down the AC/Furnace into my sump.

GunLvr



Found this bit of info:

"First, a condensate drain is not required to be trapped by any of the Codes. Most manufacturers of air conditioning components require a trap on the primary condensate line to keep conditioned air in the air handler and to prevent insects from entering the air handler through the condensate line. "


Edit to add: In which case you should plug that second drain hole.



I believe that a trap is required by code on all drain lines (including condensate), and you are a dumb ass if you plug your overflow drain.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:44:37 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:01:55 PM EST
I have an AC air handler up in my attic that has leaked in the past. Not sure why it leaked, but it did and caused lots of damage to the drywall. Do these units usually have a drain and trap and if so where do they pipe the condensate to? I don't see any hoses or pipes from it.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 4:56:21 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 9:05:43 AM EST
I have heard that on lots of older AC/furnance units the furnace below gets damaged when metal drain pans under the AC start to leak and rust parts of the furnace like the heat exchanger(?).

GunLvr
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 9:07:10 AM EST
Your disgronificator is clogged.
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