Condensation/Drip from Air Handler in Attic

lpenningtonJuly 29, 2012

I replaced both A/C units in our 16 yr old house within the past year: one handler in attic and one in basement as well as both outdoor units. Today we had a high of 84 (not much compared to the rest of July) and when we went to give our kids their bedtime baths, the ceiling in the bathroom had a water spot and the wall was water damaged. I went into the attic and looked at the large pan under the unit. It was not overflowing, but there was moisture underneath it.

I do not have the model information on hand, but I am fairly certain that our HVAC company recommended a system with more capacity. We rarely have the attic unit on all day, even during the weekends (shouldn't matter imo) but today it was on from approx. 3:00 pm until we noticed the water damage at approx. 8:00pm, however, it was off from 11:00am thru 3:00pm...

I took the below video which may or may not help provide any insights into this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LLD59U0brU

Is this just a "sh** happens" kind of thing? Or we have planned better with our HVAC installers for this? This has never happened before with our old unit. Thanks in advance.

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brickeyee

Any unit in an attic should have an emergency backup drain pan.

If there is water in the backup pan it means the main pan (inside the air handler) has a clogged drain.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:59PM
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mike_home

How can a one year old installation already have a clogged drain line? This is unaccepetable in my opinion.

This may have been leaking since the day it was installed. It now has gotten to the point that you are noticing the water damage. Your installer needs to fix this and install a back up drain pan. I would want a cut off there is any type of overflow problem.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:19PM
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lpennington

Mike_home, I was also thinking, "how can something be wrong already?" Now I know that (1) water should not be in the pan, and (2) the pan is not holding the water that does find it's way in there (the pan was not overflowed yet water still escaped).

Presumably this is a warranty issue?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:29PM
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mike_home

This is a bad installation issue. I assume your contractor will cover the labor and materials for the first year. The contractor needs to correct the problem and install a back up in case this happens again.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 2:00PM
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ionized_gw

Are "back up" drain pans in attic units required by building codes?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 2:06PM
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lpennington

Well, the tech just left and he said the condensation drain/piping was installed backwards and the water backed up from that point. No charge for the visit.

We'll see what they say for the 1 foot wide spot on the bathroom ceiling or the wall I'll have to repaint. But at least the big number is out of the way.

Thx so much for responding to my post. Just having someone respond really provides some peace of mind during the hours between discovery and when the pro's arrive.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 3:42PM
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juliekcmo

If you got a new roof or attic insulation, that can sometimes allow debris to get into the drain.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 3:43PM
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energy_rater_la

what did the company say about the water
on the plywood service area?

did you show them or mention to them the
water stain on the ceiling?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:01PM
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lpennington

energy_rater. They haven't said anything yet. The tech who came out simply mentioned that there's paint to cover that sort of stuff! I am writing a letter to be mailed with a request that (a) we are compensated for the damage or (b) be given the next year's service maintenance plan for free ($350 value).

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:16AM
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energy_rater_la

please let us know about the type of paint
the tech refers to.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 1:14PM
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mike_home

Zinsser cover stain primer works well. I have used the alkyd version and not the latex. One coat usually covers a water stain. You then need to coat it with the ceiling paint.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:42PM
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brickeyee

"Are "back up" drain pans in attic units required by building codes?"

At least by some.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 5:00PM
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