How should this humidifier overflow be plumbed? (pics)

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GeorgeF

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1 year ago as we were buying this house, we found the pvc tube for the humidifier overflow was full and leaking into buckets (see old.jpg). The seller agreed to fix and his HVAC company installed a "V" looking trap (see new-trap.jpg). Fast forward a year to today when I again found the pvc tube overflowing and quickly soaking everything near the furnace.

Our new HVAC company came and by giving the top of the pvc tube a quick blow, dislodged whatever was clogging the "V trap" and it is draining correctly now. The HVAC guy said that the V trap is not necessary since there is a trap on the front of the furnace (see furnace.jpg). However doing so would basically revert the configuration of the pvc drain back to how it previously was for the 1st leak, which obviously had an issue (clogged at floor drain?).

What is the proper way to plumb this and can I avoid having to check and clean out the trap/tube on a regular basis? Should I revert back to a straight no-trap setup? Is there a trap which has some sort of cleanout that I can check and clean (which is still a bummer)? Is this a common issue that people deal with on a regular basis?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Themp

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I think both traps are needed as this keeps bugs from coming in from the outside. I assume the pipe is dumped outside and not into your sewage drain. Or you might have screens on the exit pipe for bugs. My condensate drains from the condenser clog also, so every year or so I open up the furnace and run water down the line using this on the end of the hose:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sun-Joe-Solid-Brass-Sweeper-Jet-Hose-Nozzle-SJI-1JHN/206383827
 

Stuff

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Welcome to home ownership. There is always maintenance. You should check it each time you replace the air filter. A watered down bleach solution and a flush usually keeps things clear. If you don't want to do the maintenance yourself then schedule the HVAC tech come out twice a year as is recommended.

Technically neither trap is correct as there is no vent but is commonly installed that way. Lots of times there is a simple clear hose from the humidifier to a drain. How is the floor drain set up? Strange that the wiring goes into the duct.

Here is a clear trap with access ports - https://www.amazon.com/Rectorseal-83114-113B-Trap-Brush/dp/B00BMUFSGI
 

Cacher_Chick

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There is no need for traps on the HVAC unit. The floor drain has a trap which prevents sewer gas from entering the structure. This is not to say that the piping will not still plug from algae growth or condensate goo. Flushing out the HVAC drain annually is a good idea to prevent future issues.

If you want to try something that may last longer and be more serviceable, switch to regular 1-1/2" pvc drain pipe, and make sure it all slopes to the drain. Use an air gap between the unit drain connection and the larger piping.
 

Reach4

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I can't imagine 1/2 inch PVC not being more than enough for the humidifier once you get rid of that running trap.

But then I would not have predicted the running trap getting clogged. If that was clogged with lint, make sure the furnace filter is fitting properly.
 
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Cacher_Chick

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I can't imagine 1/2 inch PVC not being more than enough for the humidifier once you get rid of that running trap.

But then I would not have predicted the running trap getting clogged. If that was clogged with lint, make sure the furnace filter is fitting properly.

The condensate from a condensing furnace is pretty nasty stuff, and it is not at all uncommon to see algae grow in A/C condensate lines. Oversizing the piping is not necessary, but will be likely to take longer to plug, and is easier to clean with standard drain equipment.
 

GeorgeF

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There is no need for traps on the HVAC unit. The floor drain has a trap which prevents sewer gas from entering the structure. This is not to say that the piping will not still plug from algae growth or condensate goo. Flushing out the HVAC drain annually is a good idea to prevent future issues.

If you want to try something that may last longer and be more serviceable, switch to regular 1-1/2" pvc drain pipe, and make sure it all slopes to the drain. Use an air gap between the unit drain connection and the larger piping.

When you say no need for trap on the HVAC unit, are you referring to the one on the furnace or the one below the humidifier? For the trap coming out of the furnace, I am not aware of any past issues with it and the previous homeowner instructed me to pour a cup of vinegar down it every other month which I've been doing.
 

Reach4

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The condensate from a condensing furnace is pretty nasty stuff, and it is not at all uncommon to see algae grow in A/C condensate lines. Oversizing the piping is not necessary, but will be likely to take longer to plug, and is easier to clean with standard drain equipment.
I was thinking about the humidifier drain line, which may be an Aprilaire 500 or 600 or similar, which only contacts the air.

That bypass humidifier runs water down a pad from the top, and the water that does not evaporate goes down the drain.
 

GeorgeF

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Welcome to home ownership. There is always maintenance. You should check it each time you replace the air filter. A watered down bleach solution and a flush usually keeps things clear. If you don't want to do the maintenance yourself then schedule the HVAC tech come out twice a year as is recommended.

Technically neither trap is correct as there is no vent but is commonly installed that way. Lots of times there is a simple clear hose from the humidifier to a drain. How is the floor drain set up? Strange that the wiring goes into the duct.

Oh home ownership is great, and this is my third house, but the first time with any issues with the humidifier. I have my furnace cleaned and checked twice a year by an HVAC company and the only interaction with the humidifiers has been having the filters changed yearly.

The floor drain goes into the tile underneath the foundation. Which wiring are you looking at?
 
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GeorgeF

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I was thinking about the humidifier drain line, which may be an Aprilaire 500 or 600 or similar, which only contacts the air.

That bypass humidifier runs water down a pad from the top, and the water that does not evaporate goes down the drain.

It's a Honeywell HE260 and works as you described, running water from the top down a pad.
 

Cacher_Chick

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When you say no need for trap on the HVAC unit, are you referring to the one on the furnace or the one below the humidifier? For the trap coming out of the furnace, I am not aware of any past issues with it and the previous homeowner instructed me to pour a cup of vinegar down it every other month which I've been doing.

Neither needs a trap installed in the drain lines. A condensing furnace has a trap inside the unit.
 

GeorgeF

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Neither needs a trap installed in the drain lines. A condensing furnace has a trap inside the unit.

Interesting. I wonder what the logic was when they originally installed the trap on the front of the furnace and the new V trap on the humidifier drain line. So based on these posts, it sounds like the optimal configuration for my setup would be no-trap pipes from both the furnace and the humidifier drain, going into the floor, with the pipes being larger than they currently are?

Even with this configuration, would it still be necessary to check for clogs (at the floor drain, perhaps?) on a regular basis or flush out the pipes to clean them?
 

Stuff

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That does not look like a condensing furnace but an air conditioning coil and drain. Supposed to have a trap to keep air from blowing out.
 

GeorgeF

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That does not look like a condensing furnace but an air conditioning coil and drain. Supposed to have a trap to keep air from blowing out.

There is a heat pump unit outside which heats and cools. And when you remove that small brown putty cover from the top of the furnace trap you can feel and hear lots of air sucking in.
 
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