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Where Did You Say The AC Condensate Water Would Go?

HVAC systems in the attic can control the AC condensate many ways.

Best Practice is to have the system sit on a drip pan.  There would be a primary condensate line.  But if it clogs there is a drip pan underneath to capture water. 

That pan can control any excess water two ways.   One is a float to turn off the system if the water in the pan gets too deep.  The other is to have a secondary discharge tube attached to the pan which drains outdoors, typically under a gutter so it is visible. 

On a pre-drywall inspection I looked at this system in the attic.  It is labeled "HVAC 3" as it is the third system in the house.

The pan has a float, but I suggested a secondary tube leading from the pan to the outdoors.

As the house was skeletal, that was the easiest time to do this.

The supervisor said not to worry, that the system would be done right.

Speaking briefly to the supervisor before the final walk through began I asked him, "Where did you say the condensate line would go?"  He said he took care of it, and not to worry.

Going straight to the attic, it was the first thing I checked!

The float was still present, but no secondary line had been installed. 

I thought it was kind of important as this unit is located in a fourth-floor loft room and any leak will go into the master-bedroom tray ceiling below, and ceiling fan.

Wanting to see if the supervisor "took care of it" I went to the furnace room to look at where that primary line, labeled  "HVAC 3," discharged.

I found it.

All three systems, two in the basement and one in the attic, were intended to all drain their condensate lines into a floor drain.

And from there to the sump pump.

That is fine.

But looking for the "HVAC 3" line I was a little stumped.

I couldn't find it!

And I looked everywhere, counting the discharge tubes and tracing them all to the hole in the floor.

But finally, squeezing behind the units I located the end of the "HVAC 3" line!

While it was INTENDED to drain into the floor, and into the sump pump, it did not!

Instead it drained onto the floor!!

After all that back and forth, and the promises that there was nothing to worry about, the drain line ended up draining its water onto the floor!

Was I surprised?

Given some of the other things on the house I have to say I was not.

So much seemed to be an afterthought.

Cute!

This really was the end of the line.

ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME THAT FOR ALL THIS TIME NOBODY WORKING ON THE HOUSE, OR SUPERVISING THAT WORK, NOTICED THAT THIS CONDENSATE LINE WAS DRAINING ONTO THE FLOOR?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

It was the first thing I showed my clients when we went inside the house, after having talked about the roof, among other things!

Having finished outside I can tell you they were not in the best mood.  This continued the fun!

My recommendation:   remember, oh remember, brothers and sisters of the congregation, have that pre-drywall inspection and follow it with a final home inspection just before the client's final walk through!  What is the most common thing?  NOTHING is common, except that you will be surprised at the variety of interesting work that is offered as a final product.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • October 27 2013 04:02AM

Comments

Morning Jay at least they did put the line in.  With that kind of service it may have been better to leave it off.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

During a hot day that line will discharge 6 or 8 gallons of water James!  That's a lot to have draining onto the basement floor!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Oh yes, the water needs somewhere to go!  And, that water can do a lot of damage.  - Debbie

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 4 years ago

Especially to a master bedroom ceiling Cousin WOW.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

One thing for sure.  If anything is going to be "plugged" during operation, it's likely to be a condesate line.

When I see "2 zoned system" or "3 zoned system", it's not unusual to see poorly designed condesate drain systems.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

You just are not a fan of "creative solutions" Jay !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

You're right Lenn, it isn't.  Which is why I recommended the secondary discharge line.  The other systems drain the pans right into the floor drain.  But this one is a potential damage problem.

Not really S&D!  Especially when they are so well done.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Things like this never cease to amaze me. That is just another case of the "I don't care" syndrome. Somebody installed that line... without thinking evidently. 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

Jay - I think it is safe to say that most homeowners do not know of that important econdary drain line and the importance of it. The contractor however "needs to take care of it".  :)

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 4 years ago

Fred - maybe this was done on Friday and they were going to get back to it Monday.  But over the weekend they were switched to another house, or neighborhood, and it was left as it was!

I consider that a best practice Tom, but also a necessary one.  When I ask supervisors about best practices, as opposed to code, they answer with something about it taking too much time and money.  Then I ask if that is how they would do it on their house, and you should see their faces.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

You would assume he would have written a memo so as not to forget; knowing you would look.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Jay...most people just don't plan for the unexpected, or expected professional view.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 4 years ago

Hello Jay,

As Sally mentioned - you are just not a fan of creative solutions...thank goodness!  Your client, as always, is lucky to have you on the job from these "don't worry, be happy" builders.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 4 years ago

Raymond - asking him first thing you would think he'd know I was still interetested!

And I give everything a view that I can William.  They simply overlooked it.

Lisa - leaking on the floor is certainly a solution, and, in my experience, very creative!  Hiding it behind the unit is good too!  Thanks for giving me a good absentee vote!    ;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, you seriously expect someone to "notice" anything beyond their own microscopic sphere?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

Since you and I are placeboes Charlie, they only need the micro view!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, Good for you for following up on that. It really is too bad that has to be done.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Don - the supervisor gave me such a hard time on the pre-drywall inspection about the secondary line that I wanted to see how it all ended.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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