Central Ac Units Condensate Drain Pan Question

by Mark D.
(Maplewood, NJ)

We installed a York central air system about 19 years ago. Never a problem until this spring when we noticed water dripping out of our soffit in front of a bedroom window. Went to the attic to see if the drip pan drain was backed up and noticed that the secondary drain pan/back-up pan was full.


Had the HVAC installer come out and look at the central air conditioner and was advised that the primary drip pan rusted through and could NOT be replaced. Was told that we now needed a NEW central air conditioning unit and was quoted roughly $10,000 installed.

We currently have to use a wet/dry vac daily to empty the secondary / back-up drip pan. Since the central air unit has run perfectly for 19+ years. I'm not really happy about spending $10k at this time because the drip pan can't be replaced.

Is it feasible to replace the secondary / back-up drip pan with a more substantial pan with a better drain?


Dadan here:

Here are some of the questions I pull from my spring cleaning! :)

Is it normal to have water in the drain pan of the evaporator?

No, it is NOT normal to have 1.5 inch of water level in the drain pan or more. The water supposed to flow outside, it NOT supposed to stay in the drain pan.

Above answer is kind of confusing - If the water is moving, it is normal. If the water stay in the drain pan, it is NOT normal. It does not matter the level of water, but it have to move outside.

If it not moving outside, it is leaking inside.


Evaporator drain pan cracks

I was informed that the pan is cracked in the fan coil. Is it true that I will to replace the entire unit? Or can the drain pan itself just be replaced? Can we fix it?

Answer:

No – it not necessary to replace entire unit for a cracking pan, yea the drain pan can be replace. Fixing a crack is waste time and money.

What is the source of water collecting in the pan under my central ac unit?

The water came from the evaporator. The evaporator turns moisture air into water. This is the entire process of cooling the room and making the air feels comfortable.

If it raining outside and we turn on the central air conditioner, the evaporator coil will produce a lot condensing water from the heavy moisture air. This is normal.

My central ac pan is overflowing and leaking water – why

Why the water not moving? If it overflowing in the attic, it serious problem. We need to ask ourselves, why the water is not flowing outside. It could be the drain line is clog or (if it has condensate pump, why is it not working).

If the area air is heavily moisture, it best to clean the condensate drain line once a year or every 6 month. If the air handler is in the attic, we need to take this serious.

What do we use to clean the condensate drain line?

Watch online video!

I have had my central ac unit on about 2 hours, yet there is not water is draining from the tube outside?

If the central air unit only runs a short time there might not be any draining, but 2 hours should probably have some drainage. I would suggest you look inside your return for the water.

I would guess your drain line is blocked. This is easily fixed if you have a shop vacuum. Locate the drain line outside, usually somewhere around the outside unit. Attach the shop vacuum to the line and turn it on. Let it suck the line out. It does not need to be a tight seal around the line you can use your hand to seal it.

After you do that you can go back inside and look at the unit for water. Check to make sure the unit is draining outside now. You can double check by removing the cover from the unit and pouring water into the tray or directly into the line and look outside to see if it is draining. I find adding food coloring to the water helps me know when the water I put in is coming out of the line outside.




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Comments for Central Ac Units Condensate Drain Pan Question

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drain pan replacement NEW
by: Anonymous

I have to replace the condensate primary drain pan, my AC unit is YORK diamond 80. where can I buy the drain pan with the same size?

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Oil in drain pan NEW
by: June

Central ac not cooling tech added 5 lbs of 410a freon that lasted only for 2 days. Tech can't find leak and said it could be on the copper tube line inside the wall, he also stated the presence of oil not freon in the condensate pan that could be from other source. No pressure test conducted only leak detection test.

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Is a trap totally necessary, NEW
by: Jude

Follow-up question, is a trap necessary with the drain pipe off from a drip pan for a central a/c unit. Also my central 4 ton unit runs cool, works great except for the leak in the inside, down the back side of the unit. The coils are not frozen, and the drain pipe is not blocked, or dirty, the water flows out the back when the blower turns off. Please can you help me, I am going broke, there are two tea pipes openings with one foot of the unit, no trap. Could this be the problem, I have taped up both openings to see if the air will be more equal, help. Please, thank you

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Drain Pan Pain NEW
by: Bill

This will be the third time I have a leak in a drain pan within four years of purchase. I checked and clean the filters regularly, and the unit is not even ten years old, including furnace. Could the drain pain be installed wrong, someone told me it must be at an angle, this one is not. Drain is not plug, or dirty and the water drains on the inside, only a little is going down the drain into the sump pump. Water comes down the back side after the blower shuts off. Any ideas, suggestions, this is costing me way too much time and money.

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outside 5ton unit not draing properly NEW
by: Anonymous

I have a 5 ton a/c unit about 1 year old. my drain line runs from inside the unit to a to a line that drains into a buried sump.the drain line is clear and has a trap. the drain line inside the unit is clear .when the unit goes into defroast the water runs out the front of the unit instead of the inside drain ,making a mudhole. any help would be good.thanks a bunch.

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From my limited experience NEW
by: Anonymous

My drain was not working properly due to low pressure caused by the the blower fan. The air was getting sucked through the drain hole and not allowing water to escape until the unit is switched off. Then it would suddenly drain. This is because in my unit the air is pulled through the evaporator. Blocked air/dust filters can cause this due to the increased resistance. The air has to come from somewhere and so gets sucked through the drain pipe.

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clean out tube NEW
by: Bill

My 3/4 inch pvc condensation clean out pipe has no cap and lots of cool air escapes with a/c running...can I put a cap on it?

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clean out tube NEW
by: Bill

My 3/4 inch pvc condensation clean out pipe has no cap and lots of cool air escapes with a/c running...can I put a cap on it?

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clean out tube NEW
by: Bill

My 3/4 inch pvc condensation clean out pipe has no cap and lots of cool air escapes with a/c running...can I put a cap on it?

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hvac drain pan NEW
by: Anonymous

if you replace the overflow pan you can increase the size of the drain hole and drain pipe to produce faster flow

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condensation pipe NEW
by: sewb

Does the pipe have to stay elevated or can I run it under some pavers an put an elbow at the end

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York drain pan. NEW
by: Rebecca

Dadain gives the best answers.where can I find him?

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Trane XL1200
by: Anonymous

I have a Trane XL1200 Super Efficiency Ac unit. The unit works fine but I noticed that water started to drip from the ceiling. I went into the attic and notice that the drip pans are rusted through. I had a tech come by and he said something like the coil pan and the backup pan are both rusted and cannot be fixed .Is this something that can be fixed or do I have to buy a new unit

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DRAIN TUBE BLOCKED
by: Anonymous

I live in Central Texas and we have to add 1 cup of bleach every 6 months to this white plastic looking tube that sticks straight up from the attic florr next to the air conditioning unit.

One year we did not add the bleach. The tube became blocked due to moldy gunk build up that the bleach takes care of if you do your maintenance.

You know your tube is blocked if the white tube on the outside under the roof eaves is dripping water. That means the pan is full and is over flowing to the tube that vents to the outside to help prevent your attic from flooding.

We hook a shop vac up to the tube coming out from the roof eaves and sucked for quite a long time until it finally broke loose and the water stopped dripping. It was a mess.

We had an HVAC person come out and that is what he did.

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Heavy Rain or Central air
by: Dadan

Yes, Dawn

I don’t know if the leaking water came from central ac or the house is leaking water from heavy rain. if you don’t know what is going on calling the professional is the best solution.

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Leaking In Basement
by: Dawn

With so much heavy rain, my York central air conditioner and heating unit is leaking water all over my basement. Do I need to call a professional? It is 19 years old and this has never happened before.

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Evaporator coil
by: Dadan

Hey, Carolyn

“leak started all over again” What do you meant by that. You mean the evaporator coils is produce water? It is normal for the evaporator coil to produce water. What is not normal is to have clog condensate drain.

“No cool air and it shut off” If your evaporator coil frozen, it will not produce a lot cool air. The frozen evaporator coil will likely act as airflow restriction and that may be the reason why you not getting cool air.

The first thing you need to do is get someone to unclog the condensate draining line. Without known the temperature differential in your evaporator coil, water in evaporator pan will sometime cause it to freeze.

Freeze evaporator coil is not good for the compressor. It will likely short it life span.

Hope I answer your question

Dadan

P.S how clean is your evaporator coils?

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Not Draining
by: Carolyn

I noted central ac system was not cooling last night - would not come on - when I got home from work several hours later I noticed that the carpet in the closet with the units was soaked.

I put a new filter in - I opened the face plate and noted lots of water - I turned off the power to the central ac unit and soaked up all the water - I turned the power back on and it worked for about an hour but did not cool.

The pipes on the exterior (under the faceplate) looked frozen and then about 45 min later they started to look copper again and the leak started all over again. No cool air and it shut off.

I do not have access to any of the drain pipes because of the way it's installed. PVC with the wonderful PVC glue sealing it in place into the air handler unit.

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Drain pan
by: Chester

Most likely a drain pan for a 19 year old evaporator is not going to be available. Your secondary pan should have a drain line going to the sewer or drip outside. Dadan is correct about installing a pan float switch to shut the system down if the pan gets full.

I would not spend a great deal of money fixing this problem as your system is 19 years old and has lasted longer than the 13 year average life of an air-conditioning system.

A new system will cost you less to operate than a unit that is nearly 20 years old. A new system properly installed and maintained should cut your cooling bill by 20 to 25% and your heating bill by 15 to 20%.

IF it were me I would definitely look into the purchase of a new system.

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Condensate Drain Line
by: Dadan

Hey, Mark

The only problem is the primary drain pan, you should not replace your York central ac unit for new drain pan. What is wrong with your secondary drain pan? Is it the central ac is producing too much condensate water and it not draining faster?

Yes, you can replace the secondary drain pan. It will probably be hard to find your specific York ac unit, but it is out there.

If you are concern the evaporator overflowing the secondary drain pan, you should have a Hvac technician installs a drain pan safety switch. This safety switch is low voltage switch and it is in between the thermostat and condenser unit.

It will shut off the condenser unit if the secondary drain pan is overflow with water.

Hope I answer your question

Dadan

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