A Few Condensate Considerations

A Few Condensate Considerations

Bryan teaches the Kalos apprentices about a few condensate considerations beyond cleaning drains. The goal of keeping these considerations in mind is to do quality jobs and not have to return to a job site.
By Bryan Orr

Water from the fan coil ends up draining outside; the condensate goes into the drain downhill and then spikes upward in a trap and then exits the drain. There may be a lot of standing water in the drains, especially when the system is off. The standing water provides a breeding ground for fungi, bacteria, and other undesirable living organisms, making backups even more possible.

Some drains have traps at the unit with a cleanout before the trap and a vent after it; the vent is tall and stays uncapped. If we were to leave the cleanout open, however, air would get sucked into the drain. We can leave the vent open as long as the trap is deep enough to create a seal and allow the column of water to overcome the negative static pressure of the system. Trap size depends on the system, but we typically use P-traps that are a few inches in length. The trap tends to get the dirtiest, which is why the cleanout allows you to flush water into the trap or clean it out with a bottle brush.

Systems with multiple traps are undesirable, but as long as all the traps are sufficient, a water column may be strong enough to travel all the way through. However, air bubbles can form in systems with multiple traps. We often see double traps due to misalignment with the chase pipe, but those are easily fixed by removing the tee and pulling the drain up a bit.

Drains can get nasty buildup if they have a low pitch out of the drain pan. On a horizontal drain line, we try to aim for at least 1/4″ of fall per foot of horizontal run. Strapping is also critical to avoid sagging; systems should be strapped at least every 4 feet or so. Sagging can cause double and triple traps over time, especially if the pipework was poorly done in the beginning. The Kalos techs are supposed to find and rectify the double traps wherever possible. If that’s not possible, we may have to rely on chemicals to get the hard deposits out of the drain.

The float switch typically goes somewhere near the platform top. In many cases where the float switch is above the platform top, it will only trip if the water level in the pan is also high enough to trip the switch. So, we try to avoid overflowing shallow pans by keeping the float switch below the drain pan’s level. Sagging platforms can also cause the float switch to back up, though. At Kalos, we need to learn to quote new platforms instead of holding off on dealing with sagging platforms.

Static pressure can also cause drain issues. High negative static pressure may cause air to be sucked in all over the place, meaning that you get turbulent flow inside our drains. Make sure everything is as sealed as possible to avoid drawing air into the drain where it shouldn’t be coming in.

In horizontal applications, poor airflow, platform level, and improper pan installation can cause condensate not to go where it’s supposed to go. If the insulation gets saturated, we need to figure out why before we ultimately replace it; we have to check orientation and clean the drain BEFORE we replace the insulation. Whenever you have to tape the insulation (or anything else), clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and microfiber towels first to make sure the surface is clean and will keep the tape fastened as long as possible. Spray glue is a type of contact cement, so you have to spray both surfaces, wait for it to tack up, and then press the surfaces together to form a bond. Whenever you have a horizontal air handler, there also needs to be some overlap with the duct in every direction to keep the horizontal drain pan in place.

When cleaning drains, we have to clean horizontal portions, drain lines, and the drain pan. We should be using brushes, Panduit straps, and everything else at our disposal to get the drains as clean as possible. We should also be looking down the tees to look for signs of drain line buildup and be willing to quote drain cleanings when necessary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most popular videos

See all +
thumbnail

Tips for Cleaning an Air Conditioning Common Drain

thumbnail

Gas Furnace Overview w/ AC Service Tech

thumbnail

Motor Overload and Safeties – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

A Common Electrical Mistake

thumbnail

5 Traits of Bad HVAC Leaders

thumbnail

Don’t Overfill Refrigerant Recovery Cylinders The Easy Way

thumbnail

How to Replace an AC Condensing Fan Motor

thumbnail

How to Braze Air Conditioning Copper

thumbnail

How to Leak Test an AC With Nitrogen Pressure

thumbnail

How to Properly Pipe a Drain on a Fan Coil

thumbnail

4 Silly Mistakes of The Green HVAC Tech

thumbnail

How to Install an AC Disconnect

thumbnail

Why a Hard Shut Off TXV Closes

thumbnail

The Importance of SST (Evaporator Temperature) and Using a Scale (Kalos Meeting)

thumbnail

Adjusting Gas Pressure on a Standard and Gemini Furnace Valve

thumbnail

How a Heat Pump Reversing Valve Works

thumbnail

Don’t Confuse TD & Delta T

thumbnail

How to Install a Thermostat

thumbnail

How and When to Use a Schrader Core Removal Tool

thumbnail

Why Does The Evaporator Coil Freeze (And How to Diagnose It)

thumbnail

How to Measure Total External Static Pressure (TESP)

thumbnail

Does a TXV Shut under Vacuum?

thumbnail

Prevent this Common Manometer Mistake

thumbnail

Facts About Fusite (Compressor Electrical Pass Through Connections)

thumbnail

See Inside a Biflow/Heat Pump Filter Drier

thumbnail

Flammable Refrigerant Safety Basics – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

Stuck Contactor Issue

thumbnail

How is 208 volts different than 230/240 volts?

thumbnail

Tips for Hiring & Getting Hired

thumbnail

Open vs. Closed Refrigeration

thumbnail

How is a 3-Phase Motor Different than Single Phase

thumbnail

HVAC Class 11/24/2020 – Electrical Review

thumbnail

How to Measure Gas Pressure – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

What is Common, Start and Run?

thumbnail

Perfect Flares Every Time w/ NAVAC NEF6LM

thumbnail

Ask Bryan Anything Live Call-in from 11/21/2020

thumbnail

How to Build a Sheet Metal Coil Case From Scratch

thumbnail

What Air Filter is The Best?

thumbnail

Basic Electrical Circuit Terms

thumbnail

The #1 Key to Service Success?

thumbnail

How To Keep Motors Running Cool And Efficient

thumbnail

Talk Through The Refrigerant Circuit Using The “Glass Tube” trainer

thumbnail

Top 10 HVAC Tech Tips for 100K

thumbnail

Installing a Rectangle to Round Transition into an Existing Metal Duct

thumbnail

How Humidity Impacts The Weight of Air

thumbnail

Testing Home Pressure Imbalance w/ Genry Garcia (Spanish)

thumbnail

Some of Bryan’s Favorite New Tools Giveaway Meeting

thumbnail

Bert Teaches The Basic Refrigerant Circuit + Safety

thumbnail

Heat Rise Airflow Calculation

thumbnail

LIVE Apprentice Q&A

thumbnail

Setting a Refrigerant Charge by Subcool

thumbnail

The Toxic SUPER TECH Mindset

thumbnail

Soft Skills Can Be Hard (Disciplines of Growth)

thumbnail

Double Crimp Connection

thumbnail

How to Fabricate a Metal Supply Plenum From Scratch

thumbnail

Delivered Capacity Basics – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

Sequencer Facts – They Aren’t All The Same

thumbnail

Wire Routing & Float Switch Positioning

thumbnail

Dual Voltage and Part Start 3-Phase Motors

thumbnail

Apprentice Program Day 1 – Using Your Resources w/ Jason Obrzut

thumbnail

Bert Cleans Out His DIRTY Work Van (And You Should Too!) #BERTLIFE

thumbnail

Liquid Line VS. Discharge Line

thumbnail

Tips for Proper AC System Cleaning – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

EPA 608 Prep – Type 3

thumbnail

Motor Replacement Tips & Tricks – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

EPA 608 Prep – Type 2

thumbnail

Better Duct Installation Practices – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

THIS Is How My FIRST WEEK As An HVAC Apprentice Went (I’m Being Trained By WHO?!)

thumbnail

EPA 608 Prep – Type 1

thumbnail

How to Find Refrigerant Leaks – Kalos Meeting

thumbnail

Advanced Ventilation w/ CERV2

thumbnail

Critical System Diagnosis for Residential HVAC

thumbnail

Diagnosing Open & Short Circuits

thumbnail

Installing a Mitsubishi One-Way Ceiling Cassette In An Unfinished Room (You Can See EVERYTHING!)

thumbnail

How to Use a Blower Door (Como usar el Blower Door)

thumbnail

How to Stop Drain Snot (Bacterial Zoogloea)

thumbnail

EPA 608 Core Prep – Part 2

thumbnail

EPA 608 Core Prep – Part 1

thumbnail

A Strange Contactor Issue

thumbnail

GreenSpeed Extreme Install

thumbnail

Symptoms of Low Evaporator Airflow

thumbnail

Preventing Flooding On a Walk-In Call

thumbnail

Symptoms of Overcharge

thumbnail

Diagnosing and Replacing a Run Capacitor

thumbnail

Symptoms of Low Refrigerant Charge

thumbnail

Preventing, Finding & Repairing Refrigerant Leaks

thumbnail

Proper Use of Manometers for HVAC Technicians

thumbnail

UV light and Petri Dish Demo

thumbnail

Tool Talk Live – Probes, Bags, Hand Tools, Power Tools & More

thumbnail

Cleaning BARD units with Venom Packs

thumbnail

Electrical Basic Concepts – RSES NATE Prep

thumbnail

Selling, Upselling, IAQ , Hardstart Kits and More

thumbnail

Cutting & Installing a Rectangle Duct Connection

thumbnail

How to Make a Leak Free Canvas Duct Connector

thumbnail

Cooling Commissioning Measurements Walk Through w/ MeasureQuick

thumbnail

How to Checkout Blower Settings Using a Manometer

thumbnail

Recovery Best Practices & Giveaway

thumbnail

Introduction to the Fieldpiece Joblink Manometer Set

thumbnail

HVAC SCHOOL MONEY TALK – Don’t Make This Common Mistake

thumbnail

Testing out a High Performance HVAC Installation

thumbnail

Commercial Refrigerant Retrofit Options in a Crisis Economy #LIVE

thumbnail

HVAC Myth Busting #2 – Volts Go Down, Amps Go Up

thumbnail

Rectorseal RSH 50 Installation

thumbnail

Setting Up Residential Demand Ventilation with Laser Egg

thumbnail

Residential Zoning Talk #LIVE

thumbnail

DUCTLESS Control and Humidity Hack with Cielo Breez

thumbnail

HVAC Myths and Controversy #1

thumbnail

Rectorseal Surge Protector Installation

thumbnail

HVAC Contractors Guide to COVID-19

thumbnail

Commercial Install Review

thumbnail

DIY Cloth Mask with HEPA Pocket

thumbnail

How to Make an Indoor Air Cleaner the Cheap and Easy Way

thumbnail

Electrical Diagnostic Thinking

thumbnail

Human Comfort Basics – RSES NATE Prep

thumbnail

Introducing Venom Packs

thumbnail

5 Install Mistakes that Kill Systems

thumbnail

UV Part 2 – Honest UV Facts from a Manufacturer

thumbnail

UVC Air Purification – Live Podcast Part #1

thumbnail

How to Make a Metal Duct Transition in the Field

thumbnail

Reversing Valves (RSES NATE Prep)

thumbnail

Sunday Coil Cleaning #BERTLIFE

thumbnail

Liquid Line Solenoid on Long Refrigerant Lines

thumbnail

Condensing Unit Install Practices (RSES NATE Prep)

thumbnail

HVAC Motor Types (RSES NATE Prep)

thumbnail

Relative Humidity in the Supply Air Stream

thumbnail

Advanced Combustion Analysis (HVAC) w/ Jim Bergmann

thumbnail

Advanced MeasureQuick Diagnosis w/ Jim Bergmann

thumbnail

How to Flow Nitrogen While Brazing

thumbnail

Compressor Tear Down (Don Gillis / Trevor Matthews)

thumbnail

Compressor Facts and Troubleshooting (Don Gillis / Trevor Matthews)

thumbnail

CO2 101 (with Don Gillis)

thumbnail

Nikki Kreuger – The Dripping Point

thumbnail

Inside a Scroll Compressor

thumbnail

Troubleshoot a Grounded (Shorted to Ground) Compressor

thumbnail

Using Power Factor to Check Capacitors Under Load

thumbnail

Straight Cool Air Conditioning Schematic (Carrier)

thumbnail

Charging During Low Outdoor ambient w/ Charging Jacket

thumbnail

Recovery Machine Speed Race 🏁NAVAC NRDD Digital vs. Appion G5 Twin

thumbnail

Is There Mold in my Ducks! 🦆(Ducts)

thumbnail

Inside a Sequencer

thumbnail

A thermostat miswire and distracted diagnosis #BERTLIFE

thumbnail

Cleaning large coils with CoilPro

thumbnail

Smelly Ductless #SOLVED

thumbnail

Inductive Reactance in Real Life

thumbnail

50K Subscriber Special & Behind the Scenes Tour

thumbnail

Compressor Won’t Run Diagnosis

thumbnail

A Blower and Heat Strip Dangerous Mistake

thumbnail

How to adjust a TXV, TEV or TX Valve

thumbnail

5 HVAC/R Terms That Sound Worse Than They Are

thumbnail

Fieldpiece Joblink Firmware Update Demo

loading

To continue you need to agree to our terms.

The HVAC School site, podcast and daily tech tips
Made possible by Generous support from