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Thread: Condensate Line

  1. #1

    Default Condensate Line

    Got a problem ... and hope to find a quick fix. The primary condensate line is clogged. Tried boiling water. No luck. Tried compressed air, no luck. Called the HVAC guy and he too couldn't get the blockage cleared. It's not in the line in the attic, but rather a blockage down in the wall. Can one "snake" a 3/4" condensate line? If not, can I simply run the primary condensate line out the soffit and let it drain into the bushes? Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    See if you can find where you condensate line terminates....that is ofter where they get blocked.

    Otherwise, you can run the line out the soffit and into the bushes. An alternative is to install a condensate pump, but that discharge tube also has to go somewhere.

  3. #3

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    Yes, you can snake it. Use a small diameter cannister snake or cable snake and start at either end of the drain. Watch out for the water explosion when you finally clear it out. Once it's clear you can buy tablets to put in your drain pan to help break up the minerals.

  4. #4

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    Can't seem to find a "snake" that'll fit a 3/4" pipe with 90 degree fittings ... any thoughts on where I might be able to find one? Do I really need a condensate pump? As long as I vent outside and the line has sufficient drop, I'm not sure what good a pump does.

  5. #5

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    You can snake up to the 90's, but I doubt you'll find anything that will get past them.

    Try compressed air using a very long plastic hose. Push the hose in as far as you can before opening the valve. Do this from both ends of the drain if nec. If that doesn't work, you'll need to connect a new drain.

  6. #6
    Member ChuckNJ's Avatar
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    Here's a tec. question

    Why don't they put clean-outs in condensate lines?

    I put a clean-out and drain plug in mine and I've had no issues since.
    Chuck

  7. #7

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    I'm not sure how a clean-out would help in this instance. The clog is in the wall somewhere, and both ends of the line are easily accessible.

    Where exactly would you put this clean-out and plug?

  8. #8
    Member ChuckNJ's Avatar
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    Eric,

    My system is fully exposed. Clean-out is at the coil

    The top cap is removable and it allows snaking, but more likely serves the purpose of pouring into it a mixture of bleach & water to kill the mold buildup if it occurs. Never had to use it, but it's there. I had to use an offset to make filling / snaking easier. The bleach / water mixture kills the mold and it washes right out of the line.

    Drain plug is in the low point of the system. You could find the condensate in the wall, put in an access panel and install a cleanout and / or drain plug. Doesn't take much to do and makes life a lot easier should there be any issues down the line. The main issue with condensate lines, I've come across is that they're too small. 3/4" lines work great in short runs, but long runs that last (at least that I've seen put in in some of the condo / townhomes here) were 3/4" pipe which dumped into a 1 1/2" pipe inside an outside wall and to the exterior. They never had any problems there and most of those units were well over 20 years old.

    I open the drain plug at the end of the season and drain all the water out. I leave it open until the heating season starts then close it off again for the next year. I only have a 80% efficiency unit, so it doesn't produce h20 during the heating season.

    I put these in place 10 years after the install. The original condensate lines clogged up and flooded the laundry room. I swore that it would never happen again.... and it hasn't.
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    Last edited by ChuckNJ; 07-10-2007 at 05:46 AM.
    Chuck

  9. #9
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schott
    Got a problem ... and hope to find a quick fix. The primary condensate line is clogged. Tried boiling water. No luck. Tried compressed air, no luck. Called the HVAC guy and he too couldn't get the blockage cleared. It's not in the line in the attic, but rather a blockage down in the wall. Can one "snake" a 3/4" condensate line? If not, can I simply run the primary condensate line out the soffit and let it drain into the bushes? Any advice would be appreciated.
    Did you try a shop vac? Put it at the termination point, turn it on, cover the end at the coil to build a little pressure and then remove to create a quick increase in suction.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  10. #10
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloridaOrange
    Did you try a shop vac? Put it at the termination point, turn it on, cover the end at the coil to build a little pressure and then remove to create a quick increase in suction.
    Almost forgot to mention...if you do this, pull the filter on the shop vac first otherwise you'll have a very messy stinky filter that more than likely would have to be replaced. I learned this the hard way.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  11. #11

    Default

    Will give the shop vac one more go ... and thanks for the additional caution!!!

  12. #12

    Default

    There's always "the bladder". Hook it up to yer garden hose, turn on the water, and stand back.

    If you can't find a small enough "bladder", you can use a power washer to flush out the line.

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