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Posted: 5/24/2008 9:04:49 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/3/2008 6:56:44 AM EST by Ghetto]
My wife and I bought our house last year and in July will be the 1 year anniversery that we moved in. The A/C unit is old (made in 91) but still runs good and keeps the house cool on most days. In the last few days my wife and I started hearing a dripping sound from behind the filter housing, so today I removed the filter and found this bucket full of water and that it had over flowed at some point.





Obviously I emptied the bucket and looked to see that the water was coming from above



Now my wife and I have lived in apts for the last few years and have never seen or heard of this before, is this common or is there a problem with the unit?
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:08:42 AM EST
sasquatch
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:35:04 AM EST
Please tell me that's not the first time you've changed the filter in the year that you've been there.

That's just a mess could be any number of things.

That drain line has been worked on quite a few times, you might want to start there, see if it's clogged.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:40:39 AM EST
The filter has been changed several times since we've been here but the dripping noise is new and what got me back there today.

Is there supposed to be a bucket there?
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:42:06 AM EST
Drain pipe clogged up? Easy to unclog via coat hanger.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:44:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By sel366:
Drain pipe clogged up? Easy to unclog via coat hanger.


I'll have to look at it tonight when it's cool enough outside to turn the unit off.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:45:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By Ghetto:

Originally Posted By sel366:
Drain pipe clogged up? Easy to unclog via coat hanger.


I'll have to look at it tonight when it's cool enough outside to turn the unit off.


They will easily clog up with a nasty slimey mess. Then the pipe backs up into where it's connected to the drain/drip pan.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:46:18 AM EST
Condensate drain plugged up. Also see if there is any ice on that coil you took a pic of. Sometimes the coil can ice up because of a dirty filter.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:46:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By sel366:
Drain pipe clogged up? Easy to unclog via coat hanger.


Or some air pressure.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 9:47:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By schneecat:

Originally Posted By sel366:
Drain pipe clogged up? Easy to unclog via coat hanger.


Or some air pressure.


Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson! Just don't have your face over the clogged area while applying the air.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 10:22:36 AM EST
Pour a cup clorox thru that pipe to kill all the fungus that has clogged it up.
you'll be good to go. Also use quality filters and change once a month during the summer. I had a guy tell me once that a good way to tell a good air filter from a bad filter is take the clean filter outside, hold it flat parallel to the ground and pour on a half cup of table sugar or salt and shake it back and forth, like your were panning for gold. If any comes thru its a crap filter.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 11:10:00 AM EST
17 years old...looks like the coil is starting to rot out pretty well. Go get some pipe insulation, wipe the drain 100% clean outside and insulate it to help prevent growth. Flush it out with some bleach and pressurized air if possible. Turn the unit back on for a while and see how it does.

Looks like the pan on the coil is rusting...unit most likely won't last much longer.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 11:19:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By jtmiller02:
17 years old...looks like the coil is starting to rot out pretty well. Go get some pipe insulation, wipe the drain 100% clean outside and insulate it to help prevent growth. Flush it out with some bleach and pressurized air if possible. Turn the unit back on for a while and see how it does.

Looks like the pan on the coil is rusting...unit most likely won't last much longer.


I agree. Probably should be prepared to buy a new one fairly soon.

If you know any HVAC guys, have them come out and look at it. You can fix the clogged drain pipe, as others have said, but if you have it looked at, you may get a few more years out of it.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 11:21:27 AM EST
Thanks guys, if It'll last until next year the my wife and I will be happy.
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 11:21:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/24/2008 11:24:44 AM EST by Keith_J]

Originally Posted By jtmiller02:
17 years old...looks like the coil is starting to rot out pretty well. Go get some pipe insulation, wipe the drain 100% clean outside and insulate it to help prevent growth. Flush it out with some bleach and pressurized air if possible. Turn the unit back on for a while and see how it does.

Looks like the pan on the coil is rusting...unit most likely won't last much longer.

Yep. Drain pan cannot handle the corrosive condensate. They don't make them to last more than 10 years when they are made from galvanized steel. Yours is completely preforated, rusted out. Could have been the original install didn't do it correctly and it puddled up. Or he shimmed it with wood and the condensate caused swelling to make it off-level.

You cannot easily fix it as nothing sticks, even that epoxy putty Billy Mays sells on TV. It will last a month at best before leaking again.

Replacement evaporator plus a general system check...$1500 and a day without AC. Sorry bro. But new pans are plastic and don't rust.

Good news? If you can FIND a tech this weekend, you can save on the tax as it is a tax free weekend for high efficiency, Energy Star rated appliances. Yay Texas!
Link Posted: 5/24/2008 11:25:25 AM EST
... In Arizona, Texas I'd assume as well, your home A/C unit is a fundamental staple of life. @ 17 years old I would buy a more efficient and newer unit. I did last year and couldn't be happier. Mine is the same tonnage but cools much better and saves on electricity. Consider a replacement before throwing any more good money after bad

Link Posted: 5/24/2008 12:13:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/24/2008 5:46:39 PM EST by XD-GEM]
Even after you clear the line, leave the bucket until you can replace the drip pan. It's not a normal part of the system, but the previous owner obviously had this problem for some time.

It would also be a good idea to have a float switch on the drip pan of any new pan you put in, especially if the pan is above the first floor or near a storage area where you don't want to chance any water damage. Whenever the drain line clogs, the pan fills up. Without a float switch to cut off the AC, you'll soon have a mini flood on your hands. If the unit is above the 1st floor, you'll then have ceiling damage below.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 8:48:25 AM EST
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 8:50:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.

Link Posted: 5/26/2008 8:56:27 AM EST
Go outside, take your shop vac [you DO have one don't you?] place it on the end of the condensate drain make seal with hand and turn it on, it'll suck the slimies out pretty nicely. Check pan, replace as needed, seal joints in condensate line [AC one] add a screwed fitting to it so you can take it apart if need be. A/C condensate is NOT corrosive like furnace condensate is it is just rusting out.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:31:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By fxntime:
Go outside, take your shop vac [you DO have one don't you?] place it on the end of the condensate drain make seal with hand and turn it on, it'll suck the slimies out pretty nicely. Check pan, replace as needed, seal joints in condensate line [AC one] add a screwed fitting to it so you can take it apart if need be. A/C condensate is NOT corrosive like furnace condensate is it is just rusting out.


Damn good idea, I'll have to find the drain.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 6:56:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/3/2008 6:57:19 AM EST by Ghetto]
I just want to make sure that I do this right before I start pouring bleach in places that maybe I shouldn't

As you can see in this pic the pan is full of water



The pipe that's sticking up goes into that pan, should I pour the bleach in that pipe? Should I vacuum the water out of the pan first?



I can't find an outside drain so I have no idea where this mess will come out of, but the unit is next to a bathroom so I'd ASSUME that it drains into the plumbing?

Link Posted: 6/3/2008 8:29:02 AM EST
Vac the water out first. You can pour the bleach in the pan or down that tube, do both. If you could get some air pressure on that line you may be able to blow out the obstruction. You would have to hold your hand over that tube sticking up, to make sure the air pressure goes down the drain and not out that vent pipe. You could also try a flexable wire of some sort and fish it down the drain line. Bleach will not clear the drain right away, you'll have to wait for the slime to break up.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 8:53:29 AM EST
Bleach will not clean out the clogeed drain, all it does is prevent mold and mildew buildup.

You goung to need presser (air or water) to clear it out. Vacume from the other end work's also.

That probably goes in the the bath line plumbing anyway.

The pcv that is sticking up is a secondary drain.

Good place to add a capfull of bleach in the future.

If you have some tin snips you can cut that door of around the refigerant lines and make it easier to get to. (Two or three cuts will get it with a little bending of the door.

Just tape it all up real well when you put it back together, it's not going to hurt any thing on that old unit
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 8:59:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/3/2008 9:04:26 AM EST by patriot73]
That coil is shot, no amount of bleach is going to help it. A Coils and suction lines ice-up when a system is low on refrigerant, they then thaw out when the condenser kicks off when the house reaches temp. Seen any blocks of ice on the big copper line outside that runs into the condenser? Low on refrigerant. You can replace the coil and pan. Coil should run about 3-$400, plus labor and R22. Usually, much of the refrigerant can be saved.


ETA: If the condenser still spins and has no holes in it, it is fine. I would love to know where that condensate line runs too? Is it in a basement? Shorten it and let it drain in your sump pit.

ETFA: If you have a new coil installed, insist the Heating guy come back and check the refrigerant level a day or two after the install. You can charge them and until it gets fully into the system, it may read full and be low a half pound or so. If the furnace and blower motor still work, you should be able to get out of it with a coil and a leak test with dye.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:09:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.




I dislike Carrier stuff because only Carrier "certified" contractors can buy parts for them, big scam. Carrier makes a great product, but I prefer American Standard, less hassle, better stuff.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:13:36 AM EST

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.




I dislike Carrier stuff because only Carrier "certified" contractors can buy parts for them, big scam. Carrier makes a great product, but I prefer American Standard, less hassle, better stuff.


Not true on the Carrier thing. I buy parts for that sort of thing all the time.

Not a "Carrier" dealer
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:14:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By glk38:

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.




I dislike Carrier stuff because only Carrier "certified" contractors can buy parts for them, big scam. Carrier makes a great product, but I prefer American Standard, less hassle, better stuff.


Not true on the Carrier thing. I buy parts for that sort of thing all the time.

Not a "Carrier" dealer


Not in this area, been through it before. I think it is areas where there are multiple contractors, so I've heard. Here, you cannot buy Carrier parts unless Carrier gives you permission.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:17:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By glk38:

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.




I dislike Carrier stuff because only Carrier "certified" contractors can buy parts for them, big scam. Carrier makes a great product, but I prefer American Standard, less hassle, better stuff.


Not true on the Carrier thing. I buy parts for that sort of thing all the time.

Not a "Carrier" dealer


Not in this area, been through it before. I think it is areas where there are multiple contractors, so I've heard. Here, you cannot buy Carrier parts unless Carrier gives you permission.


That sucks, Lennox is the only brand like that around here.

Have a mentioned somewhere on here before that I hate lennox?
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:19:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By glk38:

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By glk38:

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.




I dislike Carrier stuff because only Carrier "certified" contractors can buy parts for them, big scam. Carrier makes a great product, but I prefer American Standard, less hassle, better stuff.


Not true on the Carrier thing. I buy parts for that sort of thing all the time.

Not a "Carrier" dealer


Not in this area, been through it before. I think it is areas where there are multiple contractors, so I've heard. Here, you cannot buy Carrier parts unless Carrier gives you permission.


That sucks, Lennox is the only brand like that around here.

Have a mentioned somewhere on here before that I hate lennox?


Lennox is like a BMW, it will break and it will cost you big when it does. Isn't Lennox and Bryant the same company? I just posted that in the Lennox thread, LOL. Anyway, Lennox and Bryant is crap.

American Standard is my first choice, followed closely by Carrier.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:19:43 AM EST
Two nights ago I ripped apart the Blower, threw all the breakers checked all the connections for about an hour...

Then I found that the emergency shut-off for the furnace also controls the blower. The shut-off switch is at the top of the basement steps ... way to0 close to the light switch.

Some days your the feed bag. Some days your the dumb ass.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:24:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By glk38:

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By glk38:

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By Ghetto:
Can I use drano to unclog those pipes or does it have to be bleach?


bleach


+1 on getting an energy efficient unit.

My house has a newer Carrier unit and man does it save on the electricity bill. 17 years old - you just know that thing is wasting electricity.




I dislike Carrier stuff because only Carrier "certified" contractors can buy parts for them, big scam. Carrier makes a great product, but I prefer American Standard, less hassle, better stuff.


Not true on the Carrier thing. I buy parts for that sort of thing all the time.

Not a "Carrier" dealer


Not in this area, been through it before. I think it is areas where there are multiple contractors, so I've heard. Here, you cannot buy Carrier parts unless Carrier gives you permission.


That sucks, Lennox is the only brand like that around here.

Have a mentioned somewhere on here before that I hate lennox?


Lennox is like a BMW, it will break and it will cost you big when it does. Isn't Lennox and Bryant the same company? I just posted that in the Lennox thread, LOL. Anyway, Lennox and Bryant is crap.

American Standard is my first choice, followed closely by Carrier.


Bryant is made by Carrier
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 9:48:22 AM EST

Originally Posted By glk38:
Bleach will not clean out the clogeed drain, all it does is prevent mold and mildew buildup.

You goung to need presser (air or water) to clear it out. Vacume from the other end work's also.

That probably goes in the the bath line plumbing anyway.

The pcv that is sticking up is a secondary drain.

Good place to add a capfull of bleach in the future.

If you have some tin snips you can cut that door of around the refigerant lines and make it easier to get to. (Two or three cuts will get it with a little bending of the door.

Just tape it all up real well when you put it back together, it's not going to hurt any thing on that old unit


The unit still cools the house even in Houston summers although we're hoping to replace the unit next year.

After vacumming out the water I poured bleach down the pipe and it's seemed to help some, my wife and I have done away with wire hangers so I still may have to by and shove a wire hanger down there if the problem persists.

Thanks for the help guys!

Link Posted: 6/3/2008 10:25:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By Tacberry:
Two nights ago I ripped apart the Blower, threw all the breakers checked all the connections for about an hour...

Then I found that the emergency shut-off for the furnace also controls the blower. The shut-off switch is at the top of the basement steps ... way to0 close to the light switch.

Some days your the feed bag. Some days your the dumb ass.


By code, I believe the emergency cut off must be within 5 feet of the condenser, IIRC.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 10:46:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By patriot73:

Originally Posted By Tacberry:
Two nights ago I ripped apart the Blower, threw all the breakers checked all the connections for about an hour...

Then I found that the emergency shut-off for the furnace also controls the blower. The shut-off switch is at the top of the basement steps ... way to0 close to the light switch.

Some days your the feed bag. Some days your the dumb ass.


By code, I believe the emergency cut off must be within 5 feet of the condenser, IIRC.


Then the code's not being followed!

Actually, there is one switch right on the furnace, one at top of cellar steps, circut breaker in basement panel, and one more emergency shut-off outside by the condenser unit.
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