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So, when my air handler was installed, it seems like they didn't even bother properly connecting the drip tray. While the blower is on, I can feel air blowing out around the drip tray (downstream/after blower) and also air sucking in (upstream/before blower). It looks like they didn't even bother lining it up correctly, let alone taping it up.

Screen cap from video I took of all the stupid in the attic. There was a lot of stupid in the attic.

Aside from the IAQ problems associated with mixing attic air and indoor air, this is a massive waste of energy. It probably wastes more energy than just keeping a window open year round. How do I fix this?

The air handler (I think) is too heavy to move by myself, so I can't just realign it. Is there an easy way to realign the drip tray?

It was installed many years ago, so I can't just call (the installer) back and tell them to fix it.

Taping it up is possible, but I ran out of tape after taping less than 1/4 of the way around.

big gap around air handler, with some tape on it, #1 big gap #2 big gap #3, and yes, some idiot left a water bottle in the attic

  • And yes, someone before me left a freaking water bottle there when they were done with it. – Alexander Riccio Jan 31 '17 at 17:36
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Been there, done that.

That pan is called the secondary drip pan, and must be larger than the unit on all sides. It should be open, and it should have either a drain that driips in an obvious place, like the center of the garage so you can be annoid by it and get it fixed. If it has no drain, it should have an float switch that either triggers an alarm or turns the hvac unit off.

Don't tape the pan, find the leak and fix the leak. The pan is supposed to be open.

Sometimes the air leak is where process tubing, and drain tubing exit the evaporator, and sometimes it is escaping from improperly sealed joints.

Seal the gaps around process tubing and pipes with a moldable rubbery sealant, I usually use a 3M brand that is sold as a tape with a backing that you peel off, build up the tape till it covers the gap, then press it against the bulkhead like putty,

For panel joints, use a good quality aluminum duct tape, then cover that with a coating of duct sealing mastic. This is code in my area, everything is covered in mastic at every joint... in the trade the HVAC guys call it "pookie". It white-ish or light grey putty that comes in tubes or tubs, and kind of looks like drywall mud... But it isn't drywall mud, it has a rubber/latex component and is more like latex putty. A panel joint is anywhere two panels meet, or two different object meet. Like the joint between the two metal panels in your photos, that joint in my town would be taped and the tape covered in mastic. The only place where you don't seal the panel is the vented cover to the furnace unit, /every/ other panel is completely sealed. So servicing the unit requires the tech to cut the mastic, and reseal it when he is done. The units were not designed for this, but most localities recognize that over time leaks develop in panel joints, so using tape and mastic prevents air leaks like you have right now.

I had this issue at my house. One day I decided to service my coils, as the unit wasn't keeping up with the heat. I expected the attic to be 140*f, but instead it was closer to 75*f... Quite comfortable for an attic in the Texas summer. I knew I was doing good as the attic heated up as I sealed the leaks.

  • Uhh I think the whole bottom panel was removed at some point. It's gone. – Alexander Riccio Jan 30 '17 at 21:51
  • (I went ahead and taped it up shortly after Christmas when I was there last) – Alexander Riccio Jan 30 '17 at 21:52
  • Eek!All primary evaporator drip pans clog at some point, and when that happens water damage to the home can follow. If it is an attic mounted unit, the damage can be severe. On the other hand, units installed where water does little damage, like in the garage, is not that big of a deal. But the pan IS a code requirement, as well as a desirable safety feature. Good luck! The good news is you can simply maintain the primary drip pan's drain so it never clogs, and never have an overflow. A cup of bleach in the pan drain at least twice per cooling season should keep the drain clear. – Bigtexun Jan 31 '17 at 15:56
  • Yeah, eek is right! – Alexander Riccio Jan 31 '17 at 17:32

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