I had my HVAC unit fully inspected in May of 2023 and the repairman said that the unit is in excellent condition. However, in December of 2023, I was away on a vacation and while away I got an email from my HOA rep who informed me that my HVAC drain pipe fell off somehow. Unfortunately, I wasn't there to inspect it thoroughly but it did seem strange that the pipe of a well-maintained HVAC unit could fall of just like that.

The repair document stated following: "Could not remove all the plastic in the drain hole. Will have to return with the saw-zaw blade to remove pipe and install new pipe. Came back with saw-zaw and carefully cut out plastic. Then installed new pvc drain and trap."

The HVAC is located in the common area that is inspected regularly by maintenance personnel. So others, including the tenants of the building, have access to the roof where the HVAC is located. My question is, i suppose, whether this is really possible to happen on its own ( see the photo) or was it perhaps that someone (accidentally) knocked it off? What are some possible explanations for this occurrence?

enter image description here

  • I am confused, the repair document said they were going to saw it off. So, why the surprise? Maybe they are in teh middle of rectification. Have you contacted repairman? Commented Jan 25 at 10:54
  • That didn't just "fall off" on its own. My money is on a situation where the maintenance guy was up there for something else, probably carrying a ladder around or something like that, walked past your HVAC unit, and knocked that pipe off with his ladder (or whatever else he may have been carrying). But having it just stick out into empty space like it was is just begging for this to happen (again).
    – brhans
    Commented Jan 25 at 13:28
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    "Saw-zaw". Hee. Isn't the question convincingly answered by the fact that it was broken and not just loose?
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 25 at 14:08
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    How did the HOA rep know it "fell off"? Why were they up there, and does the HOA get a bonus from the maintenance company for work done? A correct repair might include adding a guard around it. Commented Jan 25 at 17:35
  • 1
    What on earth is a "saw-zaw?" I'd think it was a typo if it weren't there twice. Commented Jan 26 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


Those don't just fall off. It was impacted and broken off.

The proof is in the repair ticket that stated : "Could not remove all the plastic in the drain hole. Will have to return with the saw-zaw blade to remove."

It is not outrageous to see how the drain could be knocked off by someone walking by or carrying equipment.

It would make sense to add a 90 deg. elbow and turn the drain to run parallel to the AC unit rather than stick out like an appendage that could be knocked off again.

  • 4
    @Jim Stewart, It's on the roof ...not used by cyclists, motor vehicles or wheelchairs, but agreed service and maintenance people can easily knock it off.
    – RMDman
    Commented Jan 25 at 13:39
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    Definitely like the idea of installing a 90 degree bend so it's alongside the unit... But it sounds like the repair was already done, so it may be a bit late for that
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 25 at 14:19
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    Yeah, some maintenance person broke it off and didn't own up.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jan 25 at 14:59
  • There's a small possibility that large hail hit it and broke it off, but that would have to be some sizeable hail. I'm guessing something at least golf ball sized, or maybe baseball sized. The OP would probably have other damage if that was the case, though. Commented Jan 25 at 22:44
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    @computercarguy That would have to be one freak hail, since the side of the unit isn't dented at all, even though it's just thin sheet metal from the looks of it.
    – arne
    Commented Jan 26 at 9:01

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