Nashville Home Inspectors – Condensate Drain Terminations Done Wrong

Condensate Drains Done Wrong
During a Nashville Home Inspection, HABITEC Home Inspectors include condensate drain terminations as part of the inspection of the HVAC systems.
Every home that has an air conditioning unit has a condensate drain.  A normal part of the home cooling process is to dehumidify the air in a home.  Dryer air causes perspiration to evaporate from our skin which gives us a feeling of cooling.  But, when air is dehumidified the moisture that is pulled out of the air has to go somewhere.  Hence the need for a condensate drain.
But condensate drains can be installed incorrectly.  And depending on the type of drain system, different mistakes can be made.  One way an air conditioning unit condensation is removed from the unit is with a condensate pump.  See the picture below.
Condensation is removed from the A/C unit and deposited at the pump via the white PVC drain line shown vertically in the photo above.  The pump then pumps the fluid to a suitable location using a small diameter composite (plastic) tube shown on the left above.  HABITEC recommends that this fluid be removed to the outside of the building and to a location at least 18″ from the foundation wall and to terrain that slopes away from the building.  Some times DIYers can find interesting places to terminate their drain lines. 
Look at the picture below of a condensate pump drain line termination.  What’s wrong with this picture?  The little tube is the condensate drain line.  The big pipe is the waste line of the home plumbing drain waste and vent system.  Why is the little tube connected to the big tube?  Should it be?

A closeup below gives a better look.  The condensate drain line is simply plugged into the side of the waste pipe and glued into place.  And it appears the connection has leaked.  But even if it had not leaked, what is inside the waster line that is a threat?  Answer, sewer gas.  And sewer gas can be harmful, even fatal to people.  So by making this connection the potential for toxic sewer gas to enter the home via the condensate drain line is increased.  In fact, this connection is a violation of the plumbing code and should be removed.

Please contact Richard at should you have any questions.

Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC,  and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill, Lebanon, Gallatin and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of  the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections blog at ActiveRain, WordPress, and Blogger, and Founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and comment on those blogs and group.   You can also follow HABITEC on Facebook and Richard on Linked.  Thank you!


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