New Jersey Replace condensate pan?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by ggenv, May 15, 2020.

  1. ggenv

    ggenv New Member

    I have a Premier ATV horizontal two stage unit. When it was installed 15 years ago, it was not sloped properly, and water would sit in the coil drain pan at the far end away from the drain line, which caused it to eventually rust and grow mold on all of the insulation inside the unit. I managed to get the unit sloped to drain the water properly a couple years ago and replaced all the insulation with new stuff that will not allow mold growth, but the damage was already done. I have tried sealing the pan on two occasions, but I can only access part of it, and it must be rusted and leaking in parts not accessible. Condensate leaks into cabinet... then in to pan under unit.

    Why Waterfurnace did not use a plastic pan in this unit is beyond me.

    My only option now is to get the pan replaced. Is it possible to lift the coil enough to replace the pan without damaging the refrigerant lines and having to deal with the older refrigerant? If the answer is yes, how? :) I have gone as far as removing the top, and all screws on both sides of the coils that appear to be holding it in place, but can't get it to lift even a mm off the drain pan. I do not want to force it and damage the refrigerant lines.

    If I have to call in an HVAC company, what would ballpark cost on this be?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ggenv

    ggenv New Member

    Anyone had the condensate tray replaced on a horizontal ATV unit? I would really appreciate any feedback on if this can be done... and what I have been doing wrong above to get the coil raised to replace tray... is there a service manual that might explain it? Can it be done without causing issue with refrigerant lines? Is there a part that will fit this unit? No Waterfurnace dealers in my area... so if I can't get the part and do this I will need to roll the dice with a general HVAC contractor. Hoping someone has gone through this and can help here...
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  3. gsmith22

    gsmith22 Member

    I have no idea how to help, but if you google premier heat pump, you get several links to literature from Waterfurance. The literature is no longer directly linked on Waterfurnace's home page, but they apparently still have the documents online.
    If I provide direct links, the admins here will keep this post under quarantine for like a week so this is "in code" but I think you will be able to figure out

    Installation Manual: waterfurnace dot com / literature / premier / im1555.pdf
    Specifications Catalog: waterfurnace dot com / literature / premier / sp1555.pdf

    Maybe these documents will help but I suspect what you are doing is more along the lines of advanced HVAC mechanic work that no manual is going to cover.
     
  4. ggenv

    ggenv New Member

    Thanks. I appreciate your reply. I have those documents... But none address replacing the condensate pan or even lifting the coil.

    I had to replace my first floor unit a couple years ago because the compressor on the WF ATV unit went out and there was no replacement available. Now I would really hate to have to replace my second floor unit because a drain pan is rusted! I also realize it is R22 and if I ever had a refrigerant issue it may be $$$ or impossible to repair. Would a tech even swap the pan without draining down the R22 to be safe? And would they be able to replace it?

    Can anyone tell me, in general, if the refrigerant lines in the ATH unit (or any geothermal for that matter) allow the coil to be moved an inch up to replace a pan, or is that not possible or extremely risky to cause a leak in my attic.

    I really don't want to spend $11K on a new unit because of a rusted pan that was a stupid design by WF in the first place!

    If someone can help me understand if this repair is easy/no risk, hard/some risk, extremely difficult/high risk, I'd appreciate it!
     
  5. gsmith22

    gsmith22 Member

    R22 remains available but you get charged an arm and a leg for any evaucation/refill and its my understanding that any time an HVAC tech has to recharge a system, they have to report it to some gov't agency so they can track its use. Hopefuly an actual tech can reply and confirm or clarify the requirements. R22 will only get more expensive as time goes on. Replacing a unit now will at least get you a 26% federal tax credit, 22% in 2021, and nothing after that so sooner replacement is better from a financial standpoint both on the unit aspect and having to deal with R22.

    I just replaced two R22 air conditioners that worked but were 30 years old and who knows when they were gonna fail. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and move on. If your situation can be repaired, how much time is a tech going to spend doing it? two days? spit balling here 2 x 8hr x $150/hr = $2400+parts?
     
  6. ggenv

    ggenv New Member

    Thanks!

    If I choose to go the route of replacement... the one thing I have hated about this ATH horizontal Premier unit for over 15 years is the noise it makes running right above two bedrooms. The compressor starting and running is the loudest. Air handler is minimal. So, I always said whe I replace it I would put in a split system. Replacing with package system would be 1:1... just basically remove old, put in new, done... replacing with split would mean opening walls on first and second floor, since water lines come out and refrigerant lines go in and I assume they need to be well insulated to keep from having any condensation in the walls. I replaced my first floor WF ATV045 two years ago with a ClimateMaster Tranquility, so I would be looking to do the same with the attic unit... packaged or split CM Tranquility. My attic is inside envelope... foam in rafters... so that is not an issue either way.

    Is it worth the added installation headache and expense for the reduction in noise? Or am I opening a can of worms having refrigerant lines running from basement to attic?
     
  7. gsmith22

    gsmith22 Member

    not really sure. I have no personal experience with either a split system (compressor in basement/air handler in attic) or a packaged unit in the attic. both of my packaged units are in the basement. I don' t hear either start or running (and they are both located below our family room) but that may be a function of their location and that they are variable speed. As I understand it, single and dual stage units start "hard" (and drop down to low for 2 stage) while variable speed units start soft and ramp up. Refrigerant lines can and should be insulated so that shouldn't really be an issue and they are smaller than water lines so sounds like the "path" is already established. Not sure how much finish damage results from replacing water lines with refrigerant lines but presumably you might have some drywall repairs. Loop lines could always leak in the current configuration and cause interior water damage so pluses/minuses either way. It would certainly be lighter and less cumbersome just to put the coil+air handler in the attic vs a whole unit
     
  8. Stickman

    Stickman Member Forum Leader

    I have a 2 stage Tranquility split in my split level home. The run of the line set from basement to attic did get done, with some opening of walls. Your layout will vary. No problems with condensation of the insulated line.
    I can hear the compressor (4T) start when I am in certain areas. The running noise fades away to where it’s not noticeable. I recently added a soft start. That lessened the startup noise, but didn’t eliminate it. My ECM blower is whisper quiet.
     

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