This happens now and then - I was called to figure out a single HVAC problem the builder could not.
It's the end of the AC season. The builder suggested this homeowner call somebody to determine what the problem is so they can fix it permanently. The one-year warranty deadline is coming up.
What had been happening is that the drain pan under the basement HVAC unit had overflowed and flooded some of the basement.
The builder's HVAC subcontractor was called.
They determined there was a clog in the drain line, so they unclogged it.
But why didn't the electric float in the drain pan turn off the AC unit when the pan filled with water?
They hadn't thought about that.
So they replaced the float. But they warned him - the float can fail again. And if it does, the basement will fill up again.
But, the buyer wanted a permanent fix. Can you imagine, there might be a way to permanently fix this problem?
The subcontractor said it could not be fixed permanently. But, they challenged the homeowner that if he could find someone who had a permanent fix they would come back and do it.
THE HOMEOWNER DOES NOT WANT THE DRIP PAN TO FILL UP AGAIN.
Is that possible? He called me.
Over the phone I said it was possible, but I would need to see the basement.
In the basement I had the solution in 2 seconds.
Best Practice says that a drip pan under an HVAC system should be made fail safe with not only an electronic float to shut off the system, but an independent drain connected to the pan.
Here the pan was connected to that independent drain, but it was capped!
All they have to do is extend it to and drain it into the sump pump pit, located on the right.
Can I state the obvious? Gravity works every time.
I did have some fun and open another can of worms. I suggested that this solved the HVAC problem but not the basement flooding problem.
Their eyes showed their disappointment! But, I said, they are doing the right thing.
See the battery back up to the sump pump? That is the right thing to do! If the electricity goes out they have a sump pump still! But if the sump pump fails they will have another flood.
To that they actually laughed! If it isn't one thing, it's another!
The wife said that they have been trying to get this figured out for months, and here I solved the problem when I walked into the room.
She said I am a "super hero." Aw, shucks.
My recommendation: sometimes all it takes is a home inspector! Was that enough horn tooting? Seeing the obvious is seeing the obvious. Well, you know the old saying, sometimes you can't see the obvious for the trees. Or something like that.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560