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Thread: LOUD DRIPPING - A/C condensation drain behind the wall

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Default LOUD DRIPPING - A/C condensation drain behind the wall

    Hi,
    I wasn't sure whether to put this thread in the plumbing forum or not. Seems to me that HVAC folks should
    know how to deal with this issue. I went into the attic last night and followed the pvc pipe from the air handler
    to what looks like an open 1 1/2" pipe starting at the floor of the attic going down the bathroom wall and probably
    connecting to the vanity sink drain at some point. There appears to be a p-trap about 2 1/2 feet down from the attic
    floor which would be about head height standing in the bathroom below. The drainage pipe I think is 3/4" diameter and sticking
    about 18" down the drain pipe and I think the ptrap is about 2 1/2 feet down. The drip is very loud. We can hear it easily
    in the living room.
    So, that's the problem. I would think a good way to have set this up would be a slight bend above the ptrap like maybe 22 degrees,
    then the trap , then reverse the 22 if necessary, but probably no need if set up that way to begin with. I don't want to cut into
    the wall though. So, how to solve this problem? I thought of fashioning something flat just below the 3/4" pipe to divert the drips
    to the side of the pipe, but it would have to fit fairly flush with the side of that 1 1/2" drain pipe in order not to just roll off the
    end and again drip into the pool of water in the ptrap. I'm guessing there is some other clever way to fix this.
    Making the problem possibly a little more difficult is that after that a/c drain was established, then the plumber ran the bath vent
    pipe horizontally across the top of the horizontal a/c drain pipe in the attic to the roof. So, the a/c pipe cannot be pulled out completely
    from the drain unless I cut it somewhere. Suggestions?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Bump. Wish it were a coffee maker?
    Surprised nobody's got a fix for this one.

  3. #3
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Pictures might help. I don't know how you would access the pipe down in the stud bay without cutting into the drywall.

    Maybe you could go in from the top with an inside pipe cutter and then glue in an offset with two matched elbows. They can be had in a variety of angles (11-1/4, 22-1/2, 33, 45). That would cause the water to hit the sloping pipe instead of the standing water.

    Maybe you could soften the pipe with a heat gun and put an offset bend in it. Don't burn down the house.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    I was hoping there was some method to redirect the water to the side of the drain pipe so that
    it would drizzle down into the ptrap. I was hoping not to have to cut the drain pipe. If I had to cut the smaller
    a/c drain pipe to make a modification to the end of it, that would be preferable. I'll take a photo in awhile.
    Seems I read that someone else that had this problem ran the a/c drain all the way into the water in the ptrap,
    but that ended up making the water suck upwards into the a/c drain pipe. Some kind of fluid physics that I don't understand.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Name:  P1000859.jpg
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    Attached are a couple photos. One shows where the a/c drain goes down into the drain pipe.
    About 2 1/2 to 3 feet below the top of that black drain pipe is the p-trap.
    The other photo shows the bathroom vent pipe going over the top of the white a/c condensation
    drain pipe such that I cannot pull that drain pipe completely out of the black drain pipe.
    Hope that makes sense.

  6. #6
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    If you have enough fall on the 3/4" drain, you could raise it up and glue a 45 elbow on the top of the 1.5" drain. The water should then dribble down the side of the pipe and not make dripping sounds.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Interesting thought. I'll check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff_bathroom View Post
    Interesting thought. I'll check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

    You could use a piece of aquarium air tubing to let the water travel down on.

    Just insert it in the drain going down until the sound stops, and tie it off at the top.

    That is what NASA would do, now that there is a budget cut.


    Good Luck.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  9. #9
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    OK, if we are going in the direction of suggesting code violations... hang a wick down to the trap. The water will follow the wick. That and the tubing suggestion most likely violates the air gap rule.

  10. #10
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    One could maintain the airgap by inserting a spiral baffle into the pipe. Take a strip of aluminum and twist it into a spiral. The water will strike the baffle on an angle and run down its surface.

  11. #11
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    OK, if we are going in the direction of suggesting code violations... hang a wick down to the trap. The water will follow the wick. That and the tubing suggestion most likely violates the air gap rule.

    I was not "suggesting code violations"

    I was suggesting something that I know will work.

    How is a 1/4 inch pvc tubing going to violate the air gap rule ?

    Wick will hold mold, Unlike aquarium tubing, that is about 10 cents a foot.


    Most people run the air condition drain onto the ground, and it is legal in most states.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    You could use a piece of aquarium air tubing to let the water travel down on.

    Just insert it in the drain going down until the sound stops, and tie it off at the top.

    That is what NASA would do, now that there is a budget cut.


    Good Luck.
    Hi,
    Sorry I have not responded. It appears either my profile is not set up for receiving emails
    or there's something wrong with that function. I'll check my profile in a bit.
    I did fix the problem and I'll describe it in a minute.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Here's what I did to fix it. I did think about gluing a short horizontal then vertical at the top and
    feed the small pipe into that. But, that seemed like a lot of work.
    I found an easy, cheap, and fast fix. I doubt it would be against code either, but feel free to respond.
    I had a spare shower curtain rod slip on decorative plastic cover. It is the length of a shower
    curtain rod obviously and it looks like a solid tube of plastic. But it is slit all the way from one end to
    the other so that it can be slipped over an old ugly metal rod. So, I just basically did that. I spread
    the plastic end and started it around the downspout and just pushed it on all the way til it hit the ptrap.
    There's about two feet of it sticking above the drain hole that I'll need to trim off, but as soon as I slipped
    it on, it started working. No more drips at all. So, cheap, fast, easy and since it has a slit in it, no water will
    be able to be suctioned upward.
    Sound ok?

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    I thought I'd upload some photos since this was such a good and easy fix. That plastic decorative tube was made to order.
    Photo before I cut off the plastic piece and after. I'm spreading the leftover piece to show that it's slit all the way down.

    Name:  P1000864.jpg
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    Name:  P1000866.jpg
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Size:  31.2 KB

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    I don't know if all of those un-sealed electrical & plumbing penetrations of the framing into the attic even meet fire code in GA, but it's a pretty lousy thing from an energy-use and moisture-transfer point of view too.

    When the weather is no longer hot to cooking brains to spend a weekend up there it's worth going around and systematically air-sealing all air-channels at the ceiling plane. If you pressurize the first floor with window fans flipped around to pump air into the house rather than out you'd likely be able to pin-point much of the less-obvious leaks by the rising dust/fiberglass and caulk or fireblock-foam them. (Use sheet metal to seal around flues, and wrap the flues with R15 rock wool batts to avoid flue contact with other insulation.) Then put the pink stuff back in place as best you can and blow 3-6" of cellulose (which is higher density and far more air retardent than fiberglass or rock wool) over the top to fill in all of the seams, forming a decent air-retarder over the fiberglass.

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