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Condensate Switch Codes and Practices w/ James Bowman

James Bowman of Rectorseal returns to the podcast to discuss condensate switch codes and some best practices to comply with the codes.

The humble condensate switch actually has installation standards; although there isn't a “law” about the codes, many areas follow and enforce the contents of the International Mechanical Code (IMC). Some states, including Florida, also adopt elements of the IMC and amend it to create a set of guidelines for the state.

The IMC has widely-enforced code 307.2.3.1, which states that water-level monitoring devices must be installed in the primary drain pan; the device shall shut off the equipment. This code applies to downflow units and all other coils that don't have a secondary drain pan or provisions to install an auxiliary drain pan. The code also states that devices installed in the drain line are not permitted. However, code 307 is actually NOT saying that you can't install a switch in the secondary port at all; there are four different ways to comply with the code without installing a condensate switch in the primary drain pan.

Switches must comply with UL 508. However, there are plenty of non-compliant switches on the market. These may even say that they “conform” to UL 508. Compliant switches will generally not short out when dropped in water, but it's up to us to make sure we're using code-compliant switches.

If you're installing a float switch, be sure to follow the instructions; that's usually the best way to comply with local codes and protect the equipment. As always, make sure you test the switch before you leave the job site.

James and Bryan also discuss:

  • Mini-split drain considerations
  • Float switches in the primary drain line
  • Piping auxiliary floats
  • Testing safety switches for heating equipment
  • Drain pitch
  • Rectorseal condensate switches
  • Keeping redundancy in mind
  • Condensate switches for RTU and ductless units

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