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Routing of Condensate Drain


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Hey everyone. I live in a top floor apartment in Los Angeles County, California where the condensate drain is routed to the bathroom sink and taps into the drain before the trap. This is a violation of the IRC. Can anyone help me understand why this would have passed inspection and what the reasoning is for this restriction within the IRC. Also, are there potential hazards (fumes, others, etc...) to the inhabitants of the apartment?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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P2706.1 General. Every waste receptor shall be of an approved type. Plumbing fixtures or other receptors receiving the discharge of indirect waste pipes shall be shaped and have the capacities to prevent splashing or flooding and shall be readily accessible for inspection and cleaning. Waste receptors and standpipes shall be trapped and vented and shall connect to the building drainage system. A removable strainer or basket shall cover the waste outlet of waste receptors. Waste receptors shall be installed in ventilated spaces. Waste receptors shall not be installed in bathrooms or in any inaccessible or unventilated space such as a closet. Ready access shall be provided to waste receptors.

P2706.3 Prohibited Waste receptors. Plumbing fixtures that are used for domestic or culinary purposes shall not be used to receive the discharge of indirect waste piping.

Exceptions:

1. A kitchen sink trap is acceptable for use as a receptor for a dishwasher.

2. A laundry tray is acceptable for use as a receptor for a clothes washing machine.

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Perhaps the code inspector didn't know it was a violation, didn't notice it or simply didn't care.

I don't know how it could be a hazard. Condensate lines plug sometimes but those are 3/4 inch AC contractor-installed lines not 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 plumber-installed drains.

Marc

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All primary condensate drain lines for HVAC systems (usually located in attics in Texas) route to a bathroom sink drain (first or second floor ... depends on house style) and is always "above" the P-Trap.

Biggest hiccup I see is that the HVAC installer will often use a thick radiator type hose from the PVC in the wall penetration to the drain line connection and they end up "crimping" the hose which block the condensate flow.

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P2706.1 General. Every waste receptor shall be of an approved type. Plumbing fixtures or other receptors receiving the discharge of indirect waste pipes shall be shaped and have the capacities to prevent splashing or flooding and shall be readily accessible for inspection and cleaning. Waste receptors and standpipes shall be trapped and vented and shall connect to the building drainage system. A removable strainer or basket shall cover the waste outlet of waste receptors. Waste receptors shall be installed in ventilated spaces. Waste receptors shall not be installed in bathrooms or in any inaccessible or unventilated space such as a closet. Ready access shall be provided to waste receptors.

P2706.3 Prohibited Waste receptors. Plumbing fixtures that are used for domestic or culinary purposes shall not be used to receive the discharge of indirect waste piping.

Exceptions:

1. A kitchen sink trap is acceptable for use as a receptor for a dishwasher.

2. A laundry tray is acceptable for use as a receptor for a clothes washing machine.

I still don't see it. Do you have something like Nolan shows, where the condensate drain line T's into the sink tail piece? Your reference doesn't seem to prohibit that.

A receptor is defined as receiving discharge from indirect waste pipe. Indirect waste pipe is defined as a waste pipe that discharges through an air gap into a trap. Certainly what Nolan shows doesn't have an air gap, so I don't see how it's prohibited by the IRC.

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P2706.1 General. Every waste receptor shall be of an approved type. Plumbing fixtures or other receptors receiving the discharge of indirect waste pipes shall be shaped and have the capacities to prevent splashing or flooding and shall be readily accessible for inspection and cleaning. Waste receptors and standpipes shall be trapped and vented and shall connect to the building drainage system. A removable strainer or basket shall cover the waste outlet of waste receptors. Waste receptors shall be installed in ventilated spaces. Waste receptors shall not be installed in bathrooms or in any inaccessible or unventilated space such as a closet. Ready access shall be provided to waste receptors.

P2706.3 Prohibited Waste receptors. Plumbing fixtures that are used for domestic or culinary purposes shall not be used to receive the discharge of indirect waste piping.

Exceptions:

1. A kitchen sink trap is acceptable for use as a receptor for a dishwasher.

2. A laundry tray is acceptable for use as a receptor for a clothes washing machine.

I still don't see it. Do you have something like Nolan shows, where the condensate drain line T's into the sink tail piece? Your reference doesn't seem to prohibit that.

A receptor is defined as receiving discharge from indirect waste pipe. Indirect waste pipe is defined as a waste pipe that discharges through an air gap into a trap. Certainly what Nolan shows doesn't have an air gap, so I don't see how it's prohibited by the IRC.

As I read it, there's supposed to be an air gap...unless it's an exception like dishwasher, etc.

Marc

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I'm also looking at the 2012 Code Check, and under "Condensate Control (AC & Condensing Furnaces)" it says:

"May drain to indirect receptor (lav tailpiece, tub overflow)" and under the '12 IRC column it says [local] and under the '12 UMC column it says {312.5&6}.

Maybe the plumbers do consider this to be an indirect receptor but it doesn't seem to fit the definition.

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I'm sure there are bigger fish to fry than condensate dripping into a sink trap.

The condensate water is coming out of the same air that's circulating in your house through the duct system. The same fumes that are coming out of the vents (usually none) may be in the pipe. If the fumes are a problem in the pipe, they're also a problem in the ducts. T

The water in the trap under the sink keeps sewer gases from coming back up the sink or condensate drain llne.

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Your installation is fine.

Go here:

http://www.iapmo.org/2010%20California% ... r%2008.pdf

Read the second sentence from the end.

Jim,

While it's clear that the OP's installation is fine, the last paragraph of the code you posted isn't totally clear to me. Do you think that this code is calling the connection to the tailpiece (like Nolan posted) an indirect connection? If so then I'm not seeing it.

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Your installation is fine.

Go here:

http://www.iapmo.org/2010%20California% ... r%2008.pdf

Read the second sentence from the end.

Jim,

While it's clear that the OP's installation is fine, the last paragraph of the code you posted isn't totally clear to me. Do you think that this code is calling the connection to the tailpiece (like Nolan posted) an indirect connection? If so then I'm not seeing it.

No, I think it's just saying that AC condensate can be disposed of by method A, B, or C.

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A fixture tailpiece is acceptable for an indirect waste. It has an air break (not an air gap) and meets the definition for an indirect waste.

In California (UPC land) there is a prohibition on using the tailpiece of a lavatory sink when it is in the same room with a toilet. Jim's link includes the language. Most jurisdictions do not care about it being in a room with a toilet; it is sometimes the only reasonable way to connnect it.

California does not use the IRC energy, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, or electrical sections; they only use the building portion.

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A fixture tailpiece is acceptable for an indirect waste. It has an air break (not an air gap) and meets the definition for an indirect waste.

In California (UPC land) there is a prohibition on using the tailpiece of a lavatory sink when it is in the same room with a toilet. Jim's link includes the language. Most jurisdictions do not care about it being in a room with a toilet; it is sometimes the only reasonable way to connect it.

California does not use the IRC energy, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, or electrical sections; they only use the building portion.

Hi Douglas,

The first paragraph of the code the Jim posted says, "Indirect waste piping shall discharge into the building drainage system through and airgap or airbreak as set forth in this code."

The IRC definition of "indirect waste pipe" is: A waste pipe that discharges into the drainage system through an air gap into a trap, fixture or receptor.

So the IRC leaves off the air break part (and also uses two words for "air gap").

Referring to the picture that Nolan posted, that's not what I think of when I envision an air break, because I envision that to mean that the pipes aren't touching at all (overlapping, but not touching). If you say it's an airbreak then I believe you. But it certainly is not an air gap. Right? So the IRC doesn't prohibit Nolan's example, as far as I can tell.

Also, I'm not aware of any authoritative requirement (except for the California code that Jim posted) that AC condensate must drain in an indirect manner into the building's drainage system. I've seen the requirement, but not from an authoritative source. Are you aware of any such source, such as the IRC? Do you know if the International Plumbing Code addresses this issue?

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The IRC does not apply you are in a multi-family unit that was most likely built under the CBC (California Building Code), and the CPC (California Plumbing Code). I know it was commonplace in multi-family units before 2004 (could still be) in the city of Los Angeles to allow this. I realize that LA is not your jurisdiction but generally, if it flies in LA then it flies in Pasadena.

As far as hazards go if you are getting fumes from a condensate line there is a bigger problem somewhere since the condensate tray below the coils are in the conditioned air stream of your air handler.

I do know the downside of this setup is that if there is a condensate ejector pump or a low spot in the condensation line you will hear gurgling when the condensate gets enough head pressure to discharge into the tailpiece.

P2706.1 General. Every waste receptor shall be of an approved type. Plumbing fixtures or other receptors receiving the discharge of indirect waste pipes shall be shaped and have the capacities to prevent splashing or flooding and shall be readily accessible for inspection and cleaning. Waste receptors and standpipes shall be trapped and vented and shall connect to the building drainage system. A removable strainer or basket shall cover the waste outlet of waste receptors. Waste receptors shall be installed in ventilated spaces. Waste receptors shall not be installed in bathrooms or in any inaccessible or unventilated space such as a closet. Ready access shall be provided to waste receptors.

P2706.3 Prohibited Waste receptors. Plumbing fixtures that are used for domestic or culinary purposes shall not be used to receive the discharge of indirect waste piping.

Exceptions:

1. A kitchen sink trap is acceptable for use as a receptor for a dishwasher.

2. A laundry tray is acceptable for use as a receptor for a clothes washing machine.

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