Condensate Drain Relocation

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Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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OK so I have a little problem... In this humid climate of North Carolina the condensate drains for the air conditioners just spilled into the side yard between houses... This is an area that never gets sun, and with the clay soil here and all that water coming in it never dried out. Basically a big mucky area.

So I relocated the condensate drains from dumping outside to dumping into the house DWV system. In order to follow IPC code the drains needed to go through an air gap and a trap. I built in some extra capacity for future use.

Hopefully now this area will dry out!
 

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Jeff Handy

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Hang a water alarm off that condensate riser, and put the sensor right at the bottom of the opening of that air gap.

So if that drain backs up out the air gap, you will know right away.
 

Jeff Handy

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I guess in this case, the air gap also acts as a vent for the trap, is that right?

Just wondering, does it need an aav on top of the riser?

I realize the output is slow steady drips, so no chance of the trap siphoning from a big slug of water going down.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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I guess in this case, the air gap also acts as a vent for the trap, is that right?

Just wondering, does it need an aav on top of the riser?

I realize the output is slow steady drips, so no chance of the trap siphoning from a big slug of water going down.
An AAV wouldn’t do a thing here; not only is it open at the air gap, but upstream this is the open standpipe in the laundry room. More air than water here!

I’ll be putting a few water alarms in this crawl space, where you mention, plus at the condensate pumps. They don’t look like they will last forever!!
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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If that trap dries out you are going to be smelling sewer gas, which is not ideal.
Well, that's true for any trap, isn't it?

This trap takes the condensate drains from two A/C units, as well as the condensate from the furnaces related to same. In the A/C season, the flow from the a/c units to the condensate pumps yields these periodic "slugs" of water as opposed to a constant drip. In the heating season, the furnaces generate water too, and this too goes to the condensate pumps. In addition, this trap also takes the condensate from a dehumidifier in the crawl space in which it's located, an Aprilaire 70 pint/day unit. My crawl space is now encapsulated, but the unit is working hard to keep the air dry. So with a constant source of water from multiple sources, I'm confident that I'll more likely have a trap dry out in unused upstairs baths than in this crawl space...

All this would be unnecessary if the local building codes and builders understood the word "basement"...but they do not, so they build on dirt floor crawl spaces.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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I guess I was the “trap primer” at my last house. Whenever I remembered I’d pour water in all the floor drains and unused tub and shower!

Watts makes a nice little trap primer that could easily be fitted into one of the spare spaces on that stack if need be. Sioux Chief has one too, a lot less costly:


I have a fairly constant, though small, amount of water coming in so uncertain if I need it yet.
 
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Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Letting you all know especially @Jeff Handy that I ordered the following and it arrived yesterday:

Govee WiFi Water Sensor, Smart App Leak and Drip Alert, Wireless Water Alarm with Email, Loud Alarm and App Alerts - Easy to Install Remote Waterproof Leak Sensor for Home, Basement - 3 Pack

Learn more: Govee WiFi Water Sensor, Smart App Leak and Drip Alert, Wireless Water Alarm with Email, Loud Alarm and App Alerts - Easy to Install Remote Waterproof Leak Sensor for Home, Basement - 3 Pack - - Amazon.com

It is a little kit consisting of a plug in Wifi module, and three sensors. Each sensor has both leak and flood mode detection, sends a text message and email and also a very loud 100db siren.

I tried it out last night, worked well. It is definitely NOT industrial grade stuff, but it will suffice for my needs. I had already had the same manufacturer's temp and humidity detector remote sensing, so I already had the software to run it all on my phone.

Where I used to live we had basements and I was in the basement all the time. This is a crawl space, and I don't suspect I'll be down there very often, so this kind of remote sensing is important...
 

breplum

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FYI, all codes require plastic pipe to be rigidly supported. That means no janky metal tape like your photo shows. In fact, metal is not allowed to be in contact with plastic because it can abrade and even cut plastic over time, given expansion and contraction.
There are many types of rigid plastic pipe supports available and most all will have a UPC type listing on them.
You can also use 2x4s with a plastic strap to hang rigidly, or if you use metal plumber's tape, it should be wrapped with 10 mil tape for protection.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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FYI, all codes require plastic pipe to be rigidly supported. That means no janky metal tape like your photo shows. In fact, metal is not allowed to be in contact with plastic because it can abrade and even cut plastic over time, given expansion and contraction.
There are many types of rigid plastic pipe supports available and most all will have a UPC type listing on them.
You can also use 2x4s with a plastic strap to hang rigidly, or if you use metal plumber's tape, it should be wrapped with 10 mil tape for protection.
Thanks for the heads up.

Well, you can thank the licensed professional plumbers; they are from the "largest plumbing firm doing solely new construction in the Carolinas". There's a lot of a**-backwards things done here in a number of ways; every day brings a new revelation. BTW that galvanized pipe hanger you note won't abrade anything, merely because it is so loose, it isn't even supporting the pipe! And, since I'm in the process of doing a lot of work in this crawl space I've noted that that is NOT the only place where that galvanized tape is used, and not the only place where it is so loose as to be useless. Do you feel my pain? Yes, a homeowner trying to meet code and make sense of what professionals have done.

Some other weird things: they allow water heaters in attics, and a number of my neighbors have this. No sane person would put a water heater in the attic unless that is the only possible place it could go. The poor plumbers--not the boss men, but the guys doing the fitting--said it is damned hard enough to get an EMPTY water heater up into an attic much less drain one and try to remove it for replacement. They too, think it's a pretty dumb idea--but guess what? It's allowable code. Thankfully mine is in the garage. I actually think I would NOT have bought the home with a water heater in the attic.

On the electrical side of things, I just untangled a mystery today on this new house. Instead of a simple switched outlet under the sink, with a GFCI outlet, for the disposal--what is allowable code is a three wire cable (NM 14-3) coming from the breaker box, with the two 15A breakers tied together. One hot is for the dishwasher, the other hot for the disposal, sharing a neutral. But I do not have this! I have completely separate NM 14-2 cables. Both the disposal and the dishwasher or hardwired directly to each of their single cables. The disposal and the dishwasher, electrically at least, are unrelated. Why are their breakers tied together? This is not a “shared receptacle”. I've lived in a number of states, installed and replaced a number of disposals, and never seen such nonsense. Just because it's code and allowed doesn't mean it's a good idea. So, this evening's project is to complete the installation of an air switch. So, I have to undo a bit of bogus wiring, not bogus because it was done wrong or sloppy, but because this is the local code...and no GFCI on the disposal? Let's see, a non-double insulated motor, metal housing, connected to a steel sink, connected to a metal faucet. Those are precisely the kinds of conditions for which GFCI was invented. It may not be code here but one is going in; now I have a nice box with the GFCI outlet and the disposal plugs into that... Well through an air switch at least.

Onto more plumbing tomorrow. I've added pipe support to my list! Thank you, @breplum ;)
 
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Twowaxhack

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That’s a nightmare waiting to happen.

The building drain could overflow under the house. Pure sewage. Even if you caught it reasonably quick it could still be a disaster. Sensors, alarms etc. are ok but definitely not worth the risk here.

There are better ways to accomplish this.

But I’m sure there’s some magical exception in this case..... 🤣
 

Jeff Handy

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Maybe you can eliminate the trap, and the air gap.

Can’t you just form a small loop in the flex condensate lines, maintained in place by zip ties or another sturdier method?

That loop would create trapped condensate, so no sewer gas could get released at the condensate pumps.
 

Twowaxhack

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Extend a pipe through the floor above the lowest fixture. Connect your pump lines......

This way no sewage could ever back up into the crawlspace. PERIOD.

But what do I know.....🤣
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Let's see. The next door neighbor's sewer line was clogged. (construction or other debris). So, the plumber's come to snake it. When they opened up the drain points in the crawl space, THATS WHEN THE SEWAGE got into the crawl space. From the plumbers...not the backup. Guess they didn't bring lots of rags and buckets and what have you.

Extending lines through the floors? Connecting drains from the attic furnace/ac into that, and then from the crawl space condensate pump? Let's see, total and ridiculous solution not even worth consideration.

A simple, cheap flap check valve on this line would solve the "problem" of a potential sewage backup. In my years on this earth, no home I've ever lived in has had a sewage backup, so I don't feel I need to run and do this quite yet. Maybe in spring.

This solution indeed solved my problem of a soggy side of the house that never dried out...
 

Twowaxhack

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Let's see. The next door neighbor's sewer line was clogged. (construction or other debris). So, the plumber's come to snake it. When they opened up the drain points in the crawl space, THATS WHEN THE SEWAGE got into the crawl space. From the plumbers...not the backup. Guess they didn't bring lots of rags and buckets and what have you.

Extending lines through the floors? Connecting drains from the attic furnace/ac into that, and then from the crawl space condensate pump? Let's see, total and ridiculous solution not even worth consideration.

A simple, cheap flap check valve on this line would solve the "problem" of a potential sewage backup. In my years on this earth, no home I've ever lived in has had a sewage backup, so I don't feel I need to run and do this quite yet. Maybe in spring.

This solution indeed solved my problem of a soggy side of the house that never dried out...
What you call a ridiculous solution has saved countless homes crawlspace from flooding with sewage in my city.

It doesn’t rely on a back check that may or may not work.

It’s called superior design rather than ad ons to correct flawed designs. Good intentions or not.

Please don’t let your limited experience from understanding the total picture.

Your neighbors incompetent plumbers and your past houses have nothing to do with what’s best.

I’m not telling you to change it or even add anything to it. I’m telling the guy reading this thread someday so he knows a better way......

Have a great Sunday sir.....
 
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