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Dripping A/C could be blocked

Posted: September 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Hi Robert,

I have one air conditioner in my garage and another one just for my home. The one in the garage has a pvc tube and wrapped copper pipes that has water dripping out of it. A home warranty company blew out the line and told me everything was fine. After he left, it started leaking again. They say if they come out again they are going to charge me for a service call but it is still leaking. My question is if the line is clear then why is water still leaking and where is it coming from? Thank you sir,

Wayne C.

Hi Wayne,

It sounds like there is an obstruction in the A-coil pan. They should have opened up the shroud which is around the A-coil on top of the air handler and made sure that it was clean. Generally when there is a problem, it’s due to moss, dust or pet hair that ends up in the pan and blocks the discharge line.

This is one of the reasons it’s important to change your filters regularly. It will help to keep your coils clean.

What needs to be done now is remove the foil tape from the shrouding and remove all of the sheet metal screws. Then open up the top portion where the A-coil is located.

The A-coil is actually shaped like a letter A. It looks like two car radiators touching at the top and spread apart at the bottom.

When the fins of this coil get dusty due to dirty filters, condensation will wash the dust, pet dander, etc., down into the pan and will obstruct the discharge line. The leaking you are seeing is the pan overflowing.

If you can’t get the shroud off, you may have to take a pair of tin snips and cut it open at the opening where the PVC line is located. Be careful and wear gloves as the metal will be sharp.

Once you get the pan exposed, you will see that it’s full of water and you’ll also see a clump of debris blocking the discharge line. When the warranty man blew out the line, he just temporarily blew this clump of muck out of the way that just worked its way back.

If this fix sounds like it’s a bit too much, you can always call an a/c man who will clean the coils for you with the right cleanser. I will send you the name of a good a/c man here locally if requested.

Robert,

I’m the president of an HOA and we need to rent a cherry picker to reach our roofs for some work.

Our handyman says it’s illegal for him to go up unless he has a harness.

We don’t have a harness and I could understand if they were going to be using it all day but can’t a worker go up quickly and then get on the roof without one? Thank you if you can find the time for an answer.

Chad L.

Hi Chad,

Your handyman is absolutely correct. This is the law, according to OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which requires a “personal fall arrest system.”

All personnel in a boom lift must be harnessed and secured to the basket. Sometimes the boom arm will get trapped under an eave or tree limb.

If it suddenly releases, it’s like a catapult launching that person from the basket.

Not only does he need a harness, he needs what they call a four-point OSHA approved harness that goes around his upper body and wraps around under his legs.

As of January 1, 1998, body belts are no longer acceptable because they impose a danger of internal injuries and broken backs when stopping a fall.

In addition to the harness, I strongly recommend using a bungee cord about 6 feet long.

If a person is thrown from the basket, instead of a rope giving them a sudden jolt, the bungee would flex and provide a much more comfortable stop in an already highly frightening situation.

Bungees are not required, just recommended.

FYI, you are going to need at least two people with the lift. One stays on the ground to assist if needed in case there is a malfunction or any problems with the equipment.

Hello Robert,

I enjoy your columns! I own a small commercial building in an industrial center. Our roof has come to term and it’s time for a replacement. I have a hot tar roof now but one of the roofers I have spoken to has recommend a TPO system which is vinyl.

What is your take on this? They said because I was commercial I had to abide by Title 24 which is a white reflective roof. Thank you,

Mark O.

Hi Mark,

The TPO system is a great roof. Very forgiving. They come in 40, 60 and 80 mils. The price difference between the 60 and 80 is astronomical but only buys you a few years more on the warranty. In my opinion, the cost difference doesn’t compensate for the shelf life.

My recommendation is go with the 60 mil. I don’t know what kind of traffic you get on your roof, but you might consider having them include walking pads.

These are used to access mechanical components like your air conditioner. The walking pads are made from a thicker material that is bonded over the TPO system, which help protects the surface from trades people foot traffic, tools and parts during repairs.

The white reflective material of a TPO system gives you a 6 to 8 degree temperature drop inside your building during the summer months.

I was on top a roof where half was a TPO with the white overlay and the other half was the original hot tar.

It felt like a 30 degree temperature difference.

I’m familiar with both commercial and residential buildings that have gone with a TPO system. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback, primarily regarding the savings in air conditioning costs.

I like the TPO roofs but there are other good Title 24 compliant roofing options available. Modified cap sheet systems for example, also use the reflective white membrane.

We have designed a custom, full-color The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt we will give you if we answer your question. The T-shirt is available to be picked up at our office.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor, after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Send your questions to Robert@IMSConstruction.com.

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