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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    89

    Default New heating - leaking question.

    Hello all,

    I had forced air installed in my house a couple of weeks ago. As part of the install, the company ran a copper pipe from the attic (where the unit is) down through one of our walls and out into a drain pipe located in our house. This pipe is shared by our washing machine, and is located between our washer and dryer. They rough patched the hole, and did not fill it with drywall, simply patch.

    3 days later I noticed a smell - musty, like mold - coming from behind our washer and dryer. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from - other than the odor was emanating from that general location.

    This odor has persisted, and grew in strength, to the point where my wife and I can smell it in the entire room.

    Two days after this I noticed a faint yellow stain that was present on the lower portion of the patch. It started where the patch met the drywall, and radiated in both directions. The next day I was sure that the stain had grown, so I marked it's outer limits with a pen. Sure enough, the stain continued to grow, at roughly 1/5 of an inch a day or so. With the city set to inspect, I called the company that installed the system to inform them.

    They arrived today, turned on our unit, and observed. After a few minutes, the individual from the company stated that there was moisture building up along the copper pipe. He let me know he would be replacing it with clear plastic piping.

    He removed the old patch, removed the copper tube, replaced it with the clear tube. He also wrapped the clear tube (the portion that was inside the wall and he could reach) with what looked like wide silver tape. After this, he crammed a significant amount of insulation in the wall, surrounding the tube, and then rough patched the hole up.

    While he was going back to his truck to get supplies, I felt around inside the hole before it was patched. The drywall did feel damp - which I brought up to him. He hacked a bit more off in response. I also snapped a couple of pictures. Unfortunately they are after he removed most of the patch, but you can still see most of the stain including the lines I made with my pen.

    I'm curious what caused the leak in the first place, and if this is something I should be concerned about in the future. Additionally, the smell has not gone away. Granted, he only left an hour ago, but should I be worried if the smell does not fade in a few days?

    Thanks all!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: New heating - leaking question.

    It's been a little over 24 hours since I posted above, when the drain pipe was replaced and rough patched.

    Since then the rough patch is still damp to the touch, and the yellow stain has returned and is still growing, with new spots appearing. The musty smell persists and has arguably gotten stronger - we can now smell it in our kitchen and hallway - both are off the room the drain pipe is in.

    I'm going to call the heating installation company tomorrow to have them come back out. I snapped a couple of pictures a few minutes ago to share. This shows the rough patch, the clear tube they had placed in, and the yellow ring that has shown up since it was patched yesterday afternoon. Additionally, you can see the three dots of color that weren't there before this was worked on yesterday - they sit at 5, 6, and 9 o'clock in the picture.

    I'd love to hear any thoughts/ideas/comments on what this may be.

    Thank you!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Philly suburbs
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: New heating - leaking question.

    My thought is that the moisture is condensation due to a cold attic. The smell should go away when things dry out.

    Keep after your heating company until they set things straight.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: New heating - leaking question.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudiSD View Post
    My thought is that the moisture is condensation due to a cold attic. The smell should go away when things dry out.

    Keep after your heating company until they set things straight.
    Thanks for the feedback. Our attic is not insulated, so it's definitely colder than the rest of the house. Granted, I live in SoCal, so it's staying in the low 60's high 50's at night, but it's still cool. We keep our thermostat at 62 in the evening.

    The smell is strong enough that if my wife sits in the same room for a few minutes, and the comes to another part of the house, I can smell it on her clothes. Since I don't know when it may dry out, it's time to call the heating company again.

    The rough patch is still damp and pliable to the touch. Is this normal?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: New heating - leaking question.

    I did not read if you are running heat or a/c. Do you have a condensing furnace? Is it an outside wall? That is the most unusual installation I have seen in a while. Why would anyone run copper at $2 per foot when you could run pvc or pex? Copper must also be insulated it's entire length to keep it from sweating, which will cause rot and mold.

    When repairing sheetrock you do not fill in large areas with mud, you cut pieces of sheetrock to fill in the large areas and then mud the joints, preferably less than 1/4" thick. The mud will never dry properly, from what I've seen, when it is applied in a very thick layer.

    Also, there should be a trap installed in the line where it leaves the unit as shown in the manufacturer's installation manual. This prevents the line acting as an air duct and also may keep insects from using it as a thorofare.

    In an attic there is also a second (auxilliary) drain pan required by code, and a water sensing switch to shut off the unit if the drain should become stopped up. These requirements have been in the mechanical codes for years.
    "Lead by Example"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: New heating - leaking question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    I did not read if you are running heat or a/c. Do you have a condensing furnace? Is it an outside wall? That is the most unusual installation I have seen in a while. Why would anyone run copper at $2 per foot when you could run pvc or pex? Copper must also be insulated it's entire length to keep it from sweating, which will cause rot and mold.
    Our furnace sits up in the attic, it's a Lennox G61MPV-36B-071. I don't know what a condensing furnace is, or if it is one?

    I don't know why they ran the pipe, they simply told me it's a drain pipe. When they opened the wall, I did see that the copper pipe did not have any insulation on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    When repairing sheetrock you do not fill in large areas with mud, you cut pieces of sheetrock to fill in the large areas and then mud the joints, preferably less than 1/4" thick. The mud will never dry properly, from what I've seen, when it is applied in a very thick layer.
    I don't know why they slopped mud in that way. I agree, I actually suggested they leave the opening open and I'd take care of it. Instead, they just glopped it in there - probably almost an inch thick.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    Also, there should be a trap installed in the line where it leaves the unit as shown in the manufacturer's installation manual. This prevents the line acting as an air duct and also may keep insects from using it as a thorofare.
    I'll have to look for that, or ask about it when they show up. I'm unaware of what that'd look like, I guess I should reach through the manual to better familiarize myself with the hardware.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    In an attic there is also a second (auxilliary) drain pan required by code, and a water sensing switch to shut off the unit if the drain should become stopped up. These requirements have been in the mechanical codes for years.
    There is a large pan that sits below the entire unit, I checked it yesterday and didn't see any moisture. I'll be sure to check it again today. I didn't even think to look for the copper tube (now a clear plastic tube) to see where that connects to the unit. I'll do that too.

    The heating company is sending out two individuals today, some sort of inspector from their own company and a repairman. We'll see what they say!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by MBeach; 01-20-2011 at 04:38 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: New heating - leaking question.

    Looks like we found the issue, it had nothing to do with the furnace. The two individuals from the heating company tore open our wall, and discovered it wasn't the draining tube but a large pipe in the wall. Unfortunate, but I'm glad we finally know what the deal is.

    Thanks everyone, for the tips.

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