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Author Topic: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?  (Read 4085 times)

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Offline HawgRockCafe

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A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« on: June 10, 2014, 11:25:18 AM »
We noticed a water spot on our ceiling the other day and found out that the drain pan under an A/C unit had leaked quite a lot. The main condensation line wasn't draining for some reason. I used an air compressor to blow the line and it is working now, however the drain pan has a problem.

The overflow line from the drain pan goes into the garage. No water ever made it out that line. I haven't checked that line yet but there isn't much of a chance it's blocked. The pan doesn't appear to have overflowed so it must have a leak. Short of having that pan replaced are there any tricks to finding and fixing the problem? I'm thinking something akin to using Slime in a tire.

I imagine replacing the pan would be a massive bitch because the unit rests on several legs which appear to be glued/siliconed to the pan.

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Offline razorwire

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 11:37:51 AM »
We noticed a water spot on our ceiling the other day and found out that the drain pan under an A/C unit had leaked quite a lot. The main condensation line wasn't draining for some reason. I used an air compressor to blow the line and it is working now, however the drain pan has a problem.

The overflow line from the drain pan goes into the garage. No water ever made it out that line. I haven't checked that line yet but there isn't much of a chance it's blocked. The pan doesn't appear to have overflowed so it must have a leak. Short of having that pan replaced are there any tricks to finding and fixing the problem? I'm thinking something akin to using Slime in a tire.

I imagine replacing the pan would be a massive bitch because the unit rests on several legs which appear to be glued/siliconed to the pan.

You could always try that stuff that seals a screen door to the bottom of a boat.


Offline HawgRockCafe

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 11:41:01 AM »
You could always try that stuff that seals a screen door to the bottom of a boat.

If I can find the leak it would be worth a shot. I can't see where the pan is leaking, though. I'm afraid it's under one of the legs the unit is on. I guess I could use that kind of stuff around each of the legs. That's assuming that stuff really works.

A lost chicken?  A chicken?  In the woods? - ElvisHog - 2/4/2004
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Offline Animal

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 01:59:14 PM »
Metal pans rust out
Plastic pans crack.


Normally the only fix is to replace the pan or replace the entire coil and drain assembly. If it's real old replacing the coil is probably the best option. Just depends on availability and cost of the correct replacement pan.

The flex seal stuff supposedly works if it's a minor leak...we've never used it but I've heard of others in the business that do.

Other problems could be from excessive condensation build-up further up the positive air stream such as condensation dripping down the air plenum. Could also be a coil freezing up and moister getting redistributed by the blower. If the coil is restricted the pressure could retain the moister and disallow it to drain properly causing it to overflow in areas it shouldn't. That's the highlights anyways.





Offline DRYANKNPULL

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 06:04:22 PM »
I got to my office one Tuesday after Labor Day Weekend. One of girls left the ac on 65 for the whole weekend, meaning it never shut off. My drain line became obstructed and the pan overflowed. My ceiling had collapsed.  I was sad.

I now have a shut off float in the pan, and pour about a quarter of a gallon of bleach in each pan twice a year to clear out the sludge that builds up.

This ends my limited knowledge of air conditioning. And change your filters.


Offline gibraltar

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 06:20:34 PM »
I got to my office one Tuesday after Labor Day Weekend. One of girls left the ac on 65 for the whole weekend, meaning it never shut off. My drain line became obstructed and the pan overflowed. My ceiling had collapsed.  I was sad.

I now have a shut off float in the pan, and pour about a quarter of a gallon of bleach in each pan twice a year to clear out the sludge that builds up.

This ends my limited knowledge of air conditioning. And change your filters.

It's not the line that was clogged, it was the "Left on 65" that caused that. I'm sure the coil froze and caused the problem. Keep doing the bleach as that is what I would recommend to a drain issue. (even though that prolly wasnt the issue)


Offline gibraltar

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 06:23:28 PM »
I missed "change your filters". YES, often.


Offline Won Nutt Hung Lo

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 08:38:28 PM »
Why would you have an AC and/or hot water heater in the attic and not expect problems"


Offline HawgRockCafe

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 09:11:05 PM »
Metal pans rust out
Plastic pans crack.


Normally the only fix is to replace the pan or replace the entire coil and drain assembly. If it's real old replacing the coil is probably the best option. Just depends on availability and cost of the correct replacement pan.

The flex seal stuff supposedly works if it's a minor leak...we've never used it but I've heard of others in the business that do.

Other problems could be from excessive condensation build-up further up the positive air stream such as condensation dripping down the air plenum. Could also be a coil freezing up and moister getting redistributed by the blower. If the coil is restricted the pressure could retain the moister and disallow it to drain properly causing it to overflow in areas it shouldn't. That's the highlights anyways.

Thanks so much for responding. The guy actually showed up today. I figured it would be another day or two. The original problem was indeed caused by blockage in the pipe, probably in the trap he said. He thinks that was causing the interior pan to overflow and was coming out where the duct connects to the unit. He said that can happen if the unit isn't level, if I understood him.

It appeared it was dripping right on the edge of the overflow pan. He showed me in the wood where that appeared to be the case. The pan (plastic) also had a noticeable spot where it looked like it had been dripped on. So, the pan wasn't positioned far enough to catch all the water correctly. He couldn't see anywhere that the pan was cracked, so it all seems logical.

I'm guessing it hasn't drained at all this entire season, so that's a lot of condensation given the humidity we've had. He was able to shift the pan a bit. We are just going to keep an eye on everything for now. I'd like to put a shutoff valve like Doc mentioned. I assume that's something I can do myself.

He did also check the freon and coils to make sure it wasn't freezing up and said all looked good. Checked the other two units as well. He also blew out the lines again just to be sure.

If and when I get time it might be worthwhile to fill the pan up with water and see if it leaks. The ceiling is already damaged.

I swear 80% of the problems I have around the house are due to water.  :bird: water.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 09:24:25 PM by HawgRockCafe »
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Offline HawgRockCafe

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 09:21:51 PM »
Why would you have an AC and/or hot water heater in the attic and not expect problems"

I'm sure it's due to space and cost but it's a royal pain in the ass for homeowners. I don't think builders care.

Our water heater and a/c units were all in the attic in Texas. Luckily our water heater here is inside a closet. We have a neighbor a couple miles away that unknowingly had water pipes in the attic which froze and burst in the 2009 ice storm. Ruined a lot of stuff.

A lost chicken?  A chicken?  In the woods? - ElvisHog - 2/4/2004
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Offline gibraltar

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2014, 07:06:46 AM »
A shut off float is incredibly simple to install and can save you a lot of headache. Once a person's drains stop up, it normally repeats. Now that you know you have this problem I would recommend that every spring you do what Doc said and put bleach in the drains.  Install a compression fitting on the line so you can get it apart easily, blow it out, then put in bleach.


Offline HawgRockCafe

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2014, 07:39:43 AM »
A shut off float is incredibly simple to install and can save you a lot of headache. Once a person's drains stop up, it normally repeats. Now that you know you have this problem I would recommend that every spring you do what Doc said and put bleach in the drains.  Install a compression fitting on the line so you can get it apart easily, blow it out, then put in bleach.

That's good to hear. I read that using bleach can react to the PVC causing it to dry and potentially crack and it's best to dilute it. Have you heard that? I can't imagine that doing it once a year would be too bad, especially since there is going to be moisture in the line anyway. I just have to remember to do it!

A lost chicken?  A chicken?  In the woods? - ElvisHog - 2/4/2004
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Offline gibraltar

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2014, 07:49:26 AM »
That's good to hear. I read that using bleach can react to the PVC causing it to dry and potentially crack and it's best to dilute it. Have you heard that? I can't imagine that doing it once a year would be too bad, especially since there is going to be moisture in the line anyway. I just have to remember to do it!

I've been putting it in undiluted for years to several customers. No problems with their pipes that I can see. I normally put in about 1 cup.


Offline HawgRockCafe

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2014, 08:45:33 AM »
I've been putting it in undiluted for years to several customers. No problems with their pipes that I can see. I normally put in about 1 cup.

Great. That's good to hear. Appreciate the tip!

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Offline Animal

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2014, 09:03:41 AM »
I'm sure it's due to space and cost but it's a royal pain in the ass for homeowners. I don't think builders care.

Our water heater and a/c units were all in the attic in Texas. Luckily our water heater here is inside a closet. We have a neighbor a couple miles away that unknowingly had water pipes in the attic which froze and burst in the 2009 ice storm. Ruined a lot of stuff.

In the south HVAC installs in the attic are very common. It's functionally and fundamentally stupid but very common. One reason is the space savings below means you can charge more per square foot of living space. The down side is the loss in efficiency and capacity relative to what you are paying for. The other reason is most homes in the south don't have basements which are highly common to the north of us. Many of those homes in the north have dedicated mechanical closets which tends to make installation a breeze. They install most of the ducts inside walls, between floors, crawlspaces, bulkheads, and so forth...which is a big plus. Anything but the attic and outside is best.

A good many builders in the south still build like it's 1955 with a few modern twists, they pay no attention to building science and innovations in new home construction that could reduce energy costs substantially. This is mainly because nobody is forcing them to do it and home owners don't know any different. The method of construction often forces the hand of the HVAC dealer, the plumber, etc


Offline Filthy_McSwine

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2015, 03:36:10 PM »
I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Animal and his guys at Jacksonville Heating & Air.  I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I snagged a guy who was working at our neighbors house to look at our heat pump that was ineffectively cooling a bonus room over our garage.  He quoted me $3860 to replace the outside unit and the air handler upstairs.  I PM'd Animal and he had his guys over at our house within a few hours.

They fixed it.  For $130.  All it needed was to properly install the expansion valve...I didn't even need to buy a new part. 

If you live in central Arkansas, call these guys.  This isn't the first time they've fixed something others misdiagnosed. 


Offline goporkyourself

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Re: A/C drain pan issue - Animal, are you there?
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2015, 04:18:28 PM »
I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Animal and his guys at Jacksonville Heating & Air.  I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I snagged a guy who was working at our neighbors house to look at our heat pump that was ineffectively cooling a bonus room over our garage.  He quoted me $3860 to replace the outside unit and the air handler upstairs.  I PM'd Animal and he had his guys over at our house within a few hours.

They fixed it.  For $130.  All it needed was to properly install the expansion valve...I didn't even need to buy a new part. 

If you live in central Arkansas, call these guys.  This isn't the first time they've fixed something others misdiagnosed.

a good HVAC company is hard to find.

glad we've got a couple good guys on here.