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Condensation Pans – Air Handlers

Condensate Pans – Is your Air Handler properly installed? 

During a home inspection in the Phoenix Area this past week our client was concerned about water damage in the ceiling of one of the bedrooms.  They all seemed convinced that the roof must be leaking – we need a new roof.  This is why a Home Inspection, whether performed by Right Approach Home Inspection or another professional company, is a must.

As it turned out the leak was actually from an improperly installed Air Handler in the attic.  An air handler is where the evaporative coil, fan/blower, and heating system is usually housed.  During periods of high humidity (our monsoon season) the unit creates a fair amount of condensation.  Normally, condensation is collected at the base of the unit and allowed to drain to the exterior of the home via condensate lines.  There should be two condensate lines – Primary and Secondary -  the secondary line is attached to the pan installed under the air handler.  It is vital to have a condensate pan installed properly as this captures water/condensation that the primary drain didn’t.  Without a pan the water leaks directly to the surface below, this is usually the sheetrock of the ceiling. 

The installation of this unit was incorrect from the beginning.  The unit rests on two blocks of wood – which makes it all but impossible to have a pan under the unit.  Normally the air handler is suspended from the rafters with steel straps or steel rods – this allows the unit to have a pan installed underneath.

Install the air handler correctly with a condensate pan draining to the exterior of the home or an interior sink drain and you have solved the water damage problem.

Below are pictures of the improperly installed air handler.

 

 

 

 These are examples of a properly installed air handler.

 

 

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