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Condensate Drain Line


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  • Condensate Drain Line

    My daughter had water running down the wall inside the house over the front door yesterday. I went upstairs to check out the source of the leak. Found a 3/4 inch pvc pipe going from the air handler across the ceiling joist then elbow down outside the stud wall. Where could this be dumping? On closer check found that this was the emergence drain from a pan below the evaporator and the main drain on the unit had plugged up causing the emergency line to take care of the drain. I could not get the main line unstopped and could not find where it ended as a drain. Where do installers normally hook the drains up to? Where would an installer dump the emergency drain outside the stud wall on a brick home? The water is running down the outside of the brick wall and also inside the sheetrock wall down to the floor. This is caused by the water leak draining down to a large window sill and then going inside and outside.
    How in heck would you be able to find the end of this drain if it is between the outside sheeting and the brick?

    Other question is should the unit be replaced. It is a Tempstar unit 15 years old. There is a unit in the crawl space and one in the attic, with the condensers outside. Both units are on natural gas. We are concerned about rust on the heat exchanger. Should we be at this age?

    If we need to change what are your recommendations for a new unit?

    Also can you still recharge an old R22 unit?


  • #2
    The condensation pan drain line should should empty out outside the four walls of the house, I've seen people add them into vent lines and drain lines, it's against code in both cases.
    I'd be "concerned" but not alarmed for significant rust on heat exchangers on a 15 year old furnace, it would definitely be worth having a HVAC specialist looking at, if only for peace of mind. If holes appear in the heat exchangers this allows carbon monoxide into the duct system and therefor into the house.
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
    Every day is a learning day.


    • #3
      Typically right where the condensate drains exit the air handler there are 2 pipes. ( not always sometimes its just 1) on one of these pipes there should be a elbow or t joint that has an open end (a breathing tube if you will) that will be the primary drain. 85% of condensate drain clogs occur in the p trap right under that open tube i mentioned. a good way to unclog this is to get a small wet/dry vac and hook it up to the open tube. it should pull out plenty of water and sludge. Also most residential condensate goes to outside but occasionally they run it to an existing plumbing drain I.E. a bathroom sink or something like that, so check the pipes as they continue on and see if they head in a direction that may lead to a near by drain of some kind. If it is run to an existing drain it will be 90'd in on the side usually with a rubber tube and a C clamp. if that the case unhook the tube and vac out from there as well, this will really get the water flowing again if you can find the primary drain outlet and vac it. this will work if yours runs outside as well just need to find the outlet. most services when a condensate drain clogs is reported will "blow" the clog out. this isn't as effective long term since it doesn't pull as much as vacuuming out the entire line will. On a side note does your daughter or whomever is caring for the home changing her air filter often enough? because very dirty air filters will lead to dirt and mold on your indoor coil and will eventually lead to a much higher sludge factor in your system, when the condensate on that coil rinses the dirt down the drain. GL!