AC Condensate Line Cleaning

Discussion in 'Drain and Sewer Cleaning' started by Amish_Robot, Jun 13, 2019.

Help Support Plumbing Forums by donating:

  1. Jun 13, 2019 #1

    Amish_Robot

    Amish_Robot

    Amish_Robot

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dallas
    Hi all, I have a 3 year old AC system with the compressor outside and the blower, furnace, etc... horizontally in my attic. A drain comes out of the system, goes through a p-trap and then splits with one branch going to a drain pan and the other has a vertical maintenance vent pipe and then (I'm told) goes on to tie into the house plumbing where it drains into a sink in the master bath. There is a line exiting the drain pan which goes across the attic floor and exits attic through the eve of the house. That point is dripping, telling me the drain pan is full and the main line is clogged, right?

    My question is how to clear it. I can't get to the "far end" of the system to suck out any blockage with a vacuum, so I need to blow it out, correct? The problem is, if I just connect a compressed air source to the maintenance pipe and blow, what prevents the air pressure from just going backwards and going out the pipe that leads to the drain pan? Do I plug it? If I do that, then what prevents the pressure from going back into the air conditioning unit?

    I'm also told to put a cup of bleach or vinegar down the line. Would that kill any mold/bacteria and clear the line that way, or will it probably need physical removal of the blockage?

    This drain was cleared by the AC company less than a year ago and they put a chemical down it to prevent clogs. I think the blockages may be exacerbated by roofing deck wood chips that may have fallen into the maintenance vent pipe when we got a new roof installed. There wouldn't have been very many, I don't think, but it did not have a cap. Grrr!

    What's the right way to do this? Any help appreciated. TIA.

    -Dan
     
  2. Jun 13, 2019 #2

    frodo

    frodo

    frodo

    Just call me Macgyver Professional Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,400
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Location:
    ,
    the condensate from the ac and the pan are separate indirect drains
    if the pan has water in it
    you need to find out why,
    it is one of 2 things
    the plenium is sweating due to lack of insulation, or sloppy installed insulation
    or, the unit it self is not ''tilted'' to the condensate drain

    you need to crawl up into the attic, by code,, it must be accessible for maintenance with a lighted walk way up to the unit
    go look,,if it is sloppy insulation,,patch the insulation and buy a gallon bucket of ''duck butter''
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/design-pol...7_c_&msclkid=d44a7734928d18e479512a362ac16669

    the object of this game is to wrap the plenium with insulation and seal the insulation

    the unit
    the unit has a condensate drain on the bottom, in the corner
    the unit must tilt towards that drain, if it does not, the condensate willl drip out of the door
    into the pan.

    the pan, is supposed to be dry, it is an emergency pan
    blow the pan drain out from the unit to out doors
     
  3. Jun 14, 2019 #3

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    North Reading, Mass.
    Typically, in most cases when it easily feasible, it drains out through a trap and then out of the attic and down to about 18" or so, above the ground where it is meant to drip out.
    The drain pan you mentioned. Is that an open drain pan under the unit? Or a separate small pan?
    Never heard of a branch of the drain being tied into the house system.
     
  4. Jun 14, 2019 #4

    frodo

    frodo

    frodo

    Just call me Macgyver Professional Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,400
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Location:
    ,
  5. Jun 14, 2019 #5

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    North Reading, Mass.
    That's code!
    I'm talking about what's typically done around here and what I've seen done at every installation I've ever seen.

    EDIT: Have your experiences typically shown that it was done in accordance with that code?
     
  6. Jun 14, 2019 #6

    frodo

    frodo

    frodo

    Just call me Macgyver Professional Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,400
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Location:
    ,
    it is perfectly acceptable to run a condensate drain to
    either
    lav y tail piece
    over flow on a tub

    i have done it a hundreds times
     
  7. Jun 14, 2019 #7

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    North Reading, Mass.
    I always put a bucket under my drain line that typically drips to the ground. Then I use the water on my plants.
     
  8. Jun 14, 2019 #8

    frodo

    frodo

    frodo

    Just call me Macgyver Professional Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,400
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Location:
    ,
    you are low tech..

    get a water heater pan drain male adapter with the nut/washer
    a 3/4 female adapter
    a male x hose connection

    drill hole in bucket , install fitting
    hang bucket under leak,,route a hose out to your plants

    lol
     
  9. Jun 14, 2019 #9

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    North Reading, Mass.
    I'm retired. I can use the exercise.:)
     
  10. Jun 14, 2019 #10

    Amish_Robot

    Amish_Robot

    Amish_Robot

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dallas
    Thanks all! I was going from memory, so I'll climb up to the attic and take a few pictures. The pan I'm talking about is a small pan between the unit and exit pipe that is dripping outside my eve. I think it's meant to catch water and direct it outside when the main drain is clogged, but like I said, I'll go make sure tonight.

    Many people don't seem to know about the condensate lines connecting to the house plumbing to drain. Maybe it's a Texas thing. If you go online and search how to clean out condensate lines, you'll invariably find videos of people with drains dripping outside their house a couple of feet off the ground. That and adds for Gallo guns. No demos for my setup though. Thanks again.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2019 #11

    frodo

    frodo

    frodo

    Just call me Macgyver Professional Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,400
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Location:
    ,
    you can find your drain by looking under the sink
    if you see a rubber hose hooked to a y branch tail piece
    that is the little bugger

    or, look inside your washing machine drain box. if you see a 3/4 pvc pipe
    thats it

    i
     
  12. Jun 16, 2019 #12

    Geofd

    Geofd

    Geofd

    Professional Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Messages:
    1,373
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
    if what Frodo and diehard is NOT the problem many pan clog were I work its usually 3/4 inch.....there are 2 things you can try home depot or lowes may rent a (kinetic ram)
    high tech name for an air gun there are rubber attachments and there maybe a small plastic hose that fits on the end of the gun pump it up to about 20 psi rap a rag around it and pull the trigger.....you may get wet...….OR try a wet vac.....the gun has always worked for me......
     
  13. Jun 17, 2019 #13

    frodo

    frodo

    frodo

    Just call me Macgyver Professional Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,400
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Location:
    ,
    bottom line

    the pan is for emergency , it should not have water in it
    if it does, solve that problem to solve the pan drain problem

    properly piped condensate drain and pan drain

    ac_unit.png
     
  14. Jun 17, 2019 #14

    SGkent

    SGkent

    SGkent

    Thank You

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2016
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    near Sacramento, CA
    we had one in Riverside CA that was in the slab and drained into the back yard from the side of the slab where it exited. The dogs piled dirt up against it and we came home to wet floors one humid day. Anything from mud daubers, to algae, to debris can clog them.
     
  15. Jun 19, 2019 #15

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

    Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,287
    Likes Received:
    1,296
    Location:
    Southern California,
    Spiders clogged our condensate line, and ended up flooding two rooms. I called the home warranty service and they declined the claim saying it is up to the resident to make sure the drain lines were clear at all times. I ripped it all out, installed the A/C unit into the attic, ran the condensate line into an existing wet vent, placed a pan under it, and added an alarm into the pan so if it detects wetness, the alarm notifies us.
     
  16. Jun 20, 2019 #16

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    North Reading, Mass.
    Yes, the last one I saw had a switch in the large pan under the entire unit in the attic. When it detected water in the pan, it shut the unit down.
     
  17. Jun 20, 2019 #17

    Hisevout

    Hisevout

    Hisevout

    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    LOL :D
     
  18. Jun 20, 2019 #18

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

    Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,287
    Likes Received:
    1,296
    Location:
    Southern California,
    Kinda looks like my unit. 20151111_090347_resized.jpg
     

Share This Page