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.
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