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Old 09-15-2021, 10:30 PM   #1
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Well the inevitable happened this evening with a clogged AC condensation line. Came in and living room ceiling was soaked and dripping water. The drain ties in at the bathroom ptrap. Was able to get the clog free and water flowing again by taking it apart under sink and snaking it. The leak was coming from the pipe that appears to be a clean out pipe circled in pic. Is this a normal install as there is no cap or anything stopping the water? It was basically overflowing from the pipe. Could I put a removable cap to seal this so it overflows into pan if it happens again? Just canít believe there wouldnít be a cap on this. Thanks.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:33 PM   #2
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Pretty sure that open PVC is there to pour bleach inÖor force air to clean the line.

If that was capped, the clog would have still pushed water up until it leaked out.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:33 PM   #3
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I have never seen it done this way cap that sucker.


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Old 09-15-2021, 10:34 PM   #4
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I would cap it and run a separate line thru the outside wall. Best water for plants and outside trees or flowers. No more problem!
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:35 PM   #5
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The water should back up into an overflow pan not on your ceiling. One pan is built in one pan is under the unit. 2 drain lines 2 pans for fail safe.


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Old 09-15-2021, 10:35 PM   #6
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Surprised it overflowed...unless that part of the line is lower that where it comes out of the unit. I'd sure put a cap on it.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txtimetravler View Post
Pretty sure that open PVC is there to pour bleach inÖor force air to clean the line.

If that was capped, the clog would have still pushed water up until it leaked out.
Thatís what I think itís there for to. If it was capped it would have backed up into pan and drained outside on back porch. At least thatís what Iím thinking?? The pipe going to left goes outside on back porch in front of window.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Smokeater View Post
Surprised it overflowed...unless that part of the line is lower that where it comes out of the unit. I'd sure put a cap on it.
Now that you mention that, Iíll have to go check it. It sure doesnít look like itís much higher if any.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:46 PM   #9
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I have a similar setup at bayhouse, mine is capped and the previous owner told me to pour bleach in it a couple times a year.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:47 PM   #10
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Your overflow is plugged also.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:49 PM   #11
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Thatís called a breather stack. It keeps water flowing at a better pace than if it is capped, like like a vent on a sink or other plumbing fixtures. it also keeps the equipment from sucking water/air into the pipe above the p trap in some situations. It does need to be higher than the primary pan for the evaporator coil though. Basically higher than where the lines exit the coil box like someone else mentioned. Put a coupling and a few more inches of pipe on there.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by oktx View Post
Your overflow is plugged also.
The pipe coming out of unit and dumping straight into pan?
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:54 PM   #13
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Overflow isn’t plugged. Water had somewhere to go (the short breather stack) and didn’t back up and go to the overflow.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:57 PM   #14
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Mine has a cap on the pipe in question. However water can't overflow there as the overflow high level switch will shut the unit down before water gets that high.
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
The pipe coming out of unit and dumping straight into pan?
If your drain is plugged it should have gone into the overflow pan and drained outside instead of through your ceiling. My pipe is not capped. Iíve never seen one capped.
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:27 PM   #16
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Thereís two completely different types/scenarios of drain applications.
Positive side of evaporator requires one set up...negative side of evaporator requires totally different set up.
And if if you donít know the difference...stop
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:30 PM   #17
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Mine was clogged up. I blew it out with a shop Vac.
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smith View Post
Thatís called a breather stack. It keeps water flowing at a better pace than if it is capped, like like a vent on a sink or other plumbing fixtures. it also keeps the equipment from sucking water/air into the pipe above the p trap in some situations. It does need to be higher than the primary pan for the evaporator coil though. Basically higher than where the lines exit the coil box like someone else mentioned. Put a coupling and a few more inches of pipe on there.
Recommend this advice
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:52 PM   #19
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Thatís what I think itís there for to. If it was capped it would have backed up into pan and drained outside on back porch. At least thatís what Iím thinking?? The pipe going to left goes outside on back porch in front of window.
That's your clue. If that pipe by the window isn't dripping while the AC is in use, something is wrong.

It's put by a window for convenient viewing.

Peculiar; you get a owners manual for TV, computer, car, etc.
Do you get an owners manual for a house???
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:53 PM   #20
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It’s a vent I believe
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:55 PM   #21
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But I would Coupling it and put a 12 inch piece on it. it would have still leaked outta your p trap tho
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:01 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpdrifter View Post
That's your clue. If that pipe by the window isn't dripping while the AC is in use, something is wrong.

It's put by a window for convenient viewing.

Peculiar; you get a owners manual for TV, computer, car, etc.
Do you get an owners manual for a house???
How would it drip to the outside if there was no water in overflow pan? The external overflow pan under unit was completely dry.
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:06 AM   #23
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I went up there and the vent stack is pretty much level with the top of drain pan fitting, if not slightly lower. Does it need to be higher? Would extending this up prevent this from happening again? And no cap needed?
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:19 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
I went up there and the vent stack is pretty much level with the top of drain pan fitting, if not slightly lower. Does it need to be higher? Would extending this up prevent this from happening again? And no cap needed?
Yes. Raise the tee vent higher than the outlet on coil box. If this line stops up again the water will back up and drain out of the other coil box pipe that is directed to the pan on the floor (which will drain out the other line to outdoors)
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Old 09-16-2021, 01:05 AM   #25
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Shouldn't the pee trap be on the other side / down flow of the stack??
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Old 09-16-2021, 01:15 AM   #26
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The primary should drain into the main plumbing, the secondary should drain in front of a window, the pan should catch anything else in a last case scenario.

THey can all use some bleach from time to time, our primary clogs at least once a year if I don't put bleach in it.
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Old 09-16-2021, 01:27 AM   #27
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We had the same thing happen. Our A/C guy installed a pan with a shut-off switch, so that if it ever overflowed again, it would shut the unit off before the pan overflowed onto our ceiling.
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:57 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
How would it drip to the outside if there was no water in overflow pan? The external overflow pan under unit was completely dry.
I don't own a modern house that has built in AC like that.
I used to wire the houses that do, but it was a long time ago.
I might have that back wards: if the pipe by the window IS dripping, the main drain is clogged and needs attention.

One way or another, it is a visual clue that something is wrong with drain system.

That is a good question.

Last edited by hpdrifter; 09-16-2021 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 09-16-2021, 05:52 AM   #29
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We had the same thing happen. Our A/C guy installed a pan with a shut-off switch, so that if it ever overflowed again, it would shut the unit off before the pan overflowed onto our ceiling.
From the homes I have owned they have been installing these cut off switches since the 90ís.
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smith View Post
Thatís called a breather stack. It keeps water flowing at a better pace than if it is capped, like like a vent on a sink or other plumbing fixtures. it also keeps the equipment from sucking water/air into the pipe above the p trap in some situations. It does need to be higher than the primary pan for the evaporator coil though. Basically higher than where the lines exit the coil box like someone else mentioned. Put a coupling and a few more inches of pipe on there.
Thats the way i understand it Too
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:26 AM   #31
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I had a new install done on my house about a year ago and the installer frowned upon bleach. He said the fumes from the bleach is bad for your unit and will eat it up much quicker. He says he only uses hot water about twice a year to keep the drain open. Said if you want to put something other than hot water you can mix some vinegar in with the water but bleach is too corrosive
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:58 AM   #32
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I had a new install done on my house about a year ago and the installer frowned upon bleach. He said the fumes from the bleach is bad for your unit and will eat it up much quicker. He says he only uses hot water about twice a year to keep the drain open. Said if you want to put something other than hot water you can mix some vinegar in with the water but bleach is too corrosive
Fumes wont get past the pee trap
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Old 09-16-2021, 08:11 AM   #33
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Fumes wont get past the pee trap
I don't argue with professionals lol.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:46 AM   #34
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Mine looked exactly like OPís. When I had a different company come out to work on it, I asked them if we could cap it because it was blowing cold air into my attic. He capped it and itís been like that for years. Should I take it off?


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Old 09-16-2021, 10:56 AM   #35
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So I ended up raising the vent riser 12” which is way above the drain entry. For extra assurance would capping it cause any problems with drainage? After seeing my ceiling damage now, I’m thinking I should eliminate any possibilities of water to come out of that open pipe. In other words force it to go into overflow pan and to outside drain if it ever clogs again.
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Old 09-16-2021, 11:49 AM   #36
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You should install a switch! See pic. This will shut unit off via thermostat thus notifying you have a clog. You still want it at the right height for this to work.
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:26 PM   #37
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A safety cut off switch on the pvc opening would kill the thermostat instead of keeping the unit running to continue overflowing. In addition to the periodic bleach, can hook up a shop vac on the outflow to suck out debris

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Old 09-16-2021, 01:48 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
Well the inevitable happened this evening with a clogged AC condensation line. Came in and living room ceiling was soaked and dripping water. The drain ties in at the bathroom ptrap. Was able to get the clog free and water flowing again by taking it apart under sink and snaking it. The leak was coming from the pipe that appears to be a clean out pipe circled in pic. Is this a normal install as there is no cap or anything stopping the water? It was basically overflowing from the pipe. Could I put a removable cap to seal this so it overflows into pan if it happens again? Just canít believe there wouldnít be a cap on this. Thanks.
There is suppose to be a float switch in the pan.
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Old 09-16-2021, 01:56 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntresss View Post
We had the same thing happen. Our A/C guy installed a pan with a shut-off switch, so that if it ever overflowed again, it would shut the unit off before the pan overflowed onto our ceiling.
We have winner. I have switch on mine to prevent this from happening.
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Old 09-16-2021, 01:59 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by JFFB View Post
We have winner. I have switch on mine to prevent this from happening.
The issue in this case is the water wasnt going into the pan, it was coming out of the pipe. Float switch in the pan wouldnt fix this problem.
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Old 09-16-2021, 02:00 PM   #41
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Your overflow is not working. Blow out or clean both lines. Make sure your trap has enough angle on it. But capping it does nothing. You need to be able to access that. I had caps on mine but never glued them
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Old 09-16-2021, 02:04 PM   #42
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Tough to be sure by the pic, but it looks like you have a furnace setup so your drain is under positive air pressure. If so, that vent that leaked is positioned incorrectly. It should be upstream of the p trap and left open with a stack taller than the drain pan. This prevents the furnace from blowing the water out of the trap and making your sink gurgle in the winter. (Technically that setup doesn’t even need the trap but that’s a different conversation).

Definitely invest in a safety float switch to prevent this from happening again. And don’t listed to the guy that says you should have water dripping out over your window all the time. That’s wrong.
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Old 09-16-2021, 02:32 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by bowhntrmatt View Post
Tough to be sure by the pic, but it looks like you have a furnace setup so your drain is under positive air pressure. If so, that vent that leaked is positioned incorrectly. It should be upstream of the p trap and left open with a stack taller than the drain pan. This prevents the furnace from blowing the water out of the trap and making your sink gurgle in the winter. (Technically that setup doesnít even need the trap but thatís a different conversation).

Definitely invest in a safety float switch to prevent this from happening again. And donít listed to the guy that says you should have water dripping out over your window all the time. Thatís wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdavidson View Post
Thereís two completely different types/scenarios of drain applications.
Positive side of evaporator requires one set up...negative side of evaporator requires totally different set up.
And if if you donít know the difference...stop
These guys are on the right track! Educate yourself on positive vs negative, and go from there.

I have a negative pressure system, and the clowns installed it like a positive pressure. It took me awhile to figure it out why it was overflowing the internal pan and leaking thru the sheet metal into the galvanized overflow. If you have a negative pressure system, then both the primary & secondary drains need to have a p-trap in order to drain correctly. If left open to atmosphere, it will create a vacuum and not let the condensate drain.

Also, I like to have my inspection port on the upstream side of the trap so that my bleach has to go thru the trap too.
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:06 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DedDuk View Post
The issue in this case is the water wasnt going into the pan, it was coming out of the pipe. Float switch in the pan wouldnt fix this problem.

Exactly I did not say it would. But it would stop the problem till the drain was fixed. Thanks


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Old 09-16-2021, 10:05 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowhntrmatt View Post
Tough to be sure by the pic, but it looks like you have a furnace setup so your drain is under positive air pressure. If so, that vent that leaked is positioned incorrectly. It should be upstream of the p trap and left open with a stack taller than the drain pan. This prevents the furnace from blowing the water out of the trap and making your sink gurgle in the winter. (Technically that setup doesnít even need the trap but thatís a different conversation).

Definitely invest in a safety float switch to prevent this from happening again. And donít listed to the guy that says you should have water dripping out over your window all the time. Thatís wrong.
Yes it is a gas furnace setup. Weíve been here 9+ years and this is first problem ever. Never noticed any gurgling or other issues in winter time. It was simply clogged up at the ptrap under sink and backing up through the vent pipe that isnít capped. Iím going to look into these safety shutoffs as I donít want to deal with this again. Big area of sheet rock ruined in living room.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:12 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
These guys are on the right track! Educate yourself on positive vs negative, and go from there.

I have a negative pressure system, and the clowns installed it like a positive pressure. It took me awhile to figure it out why it was overflowing the internal pan and leaking thru the sheet metal into the galvanized overflow. If you have a negative pressure system, then both the primary & secondary drains need to have a p-trap in order to drain correctly. If left open to atmosphere, it will create a vacuum and not let the condensate drain.

Also, I like to have my inspection port on the upstream side of the trap so that my bleach has to go thru the trap too.
Thanks. I’m pretty well educated in the positive vs negative in the electricity world but not HVAC . I have had the unit serviced a couple different times and the “professionals” didn’t mention anything about it being wrong. It just puzzling that the water didn’t drain back into overflow pan and outside thru the viewing pipe
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:40 PM   #47
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I used to install AC systems when I was younger. To be honest, was always told the p-trap and vent for the sink was was good enough. Any access near the coil was for clean out and was capped. But that was also 20+ years ago.

Did find this website with some interesting info on this.

https://cfacservice.com/home-ac-repairs/drain-lines/

Good info on the drain setup. Specifically where the vent should be.

I do think the p-trap you have is not ideal. You should probably get an actual sloping trap and not have the 90’s.



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Old 09-16-2021, 10:43 PM   #48
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I just had a new A/C system installed and they told me to buy Main Line Cleaner from The Home Depot to pour down that drain pipe once a year to keep it clean.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:58 PM   #49
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Quote:
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Thanks. Iím pretty well educated in the positive vs negative in the electricity world but not HVAC . I have had the unit serviced a couple different times and the ďprofessionalsĒ didnít mention anything about it being wrong. It just puzzling that the water didnít drain back into overflow pan and outside thru the viewing pipe
The problem has been addressed several times above for a simple fix. What you done should fix it, Suggest you test it. Then call a tech out to install a safety float switch and the tech can explain what happened when the tee outlet is lower than the main drain outlet (when the water backs up it will come out of the lowest opening) Good Luck
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Old 09-17-2021, 12:18 AM   #50
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If itís a gas system and the coil is IN FRONT of the blower ( trust me it is )... then get rid of the P trap.

P trap are necessary ONLY on negative pressure systems (electric)
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