I recently got the A/C unit and furnace in my basement replaced. When the company came out to do the quote, they stated that they thought I should have a drip pan, and the proposal that they gave me with the quote included installing one.

When the guys actually came out to do the install, they didn't install a drip pan. When I asked about this, their logic made some sense - I have air returns coming in from multiple locations, which means that they needed to keep a "coffin" in place underneath the furnace to join all of the air returns together. They said that they couldn't install a drip pan without replacing the coffin. They did give me a new overflow sensor on my drain line, though.

Two questions:

1) Can you install a drip pan under a "coffin"? Is the reasoning for not doing this sound, or did they just not want to get into the work of rebuilding that part of my system to save time/money?

2) Should I ask about the impact of the drip pan on the quoted price? It seems a little unreasonable to pay the same price when part of the quoted install wasn't completed. However, I imagine this was a pretty small part of the quote compared to everything else they did... and the quote wasn't itemized.

(This company is very reputable and has gone out of their way to make me a happy customer, so while I want to get a good deal, I don't want to make the relationship too adversarial. Just looking for some additional perspective here. If everybody feels like this was a reasonable outcome, I'll happily write my check and move on with life in a nice, comfortable home.)

1 Answer 1


If the return air comes in through the bottom of the AC, then a drip pan is not possible. Typically, external drip pans are only used when leaking condensate would cause an issue to the structure, such as air handlers in an attic. In a basement or a garage (especially with a vertical air path), a drip pan is unnecessary.

  • Thanks for this. Given my experience with the contractor so far, I was pretty certain they wouldn't do this without a good reason. Do you think it's worth asking for a small cut on the price given that this work didn't happen, or do you think I should let it ride at the original price? Jan 5, 2016 at 14:25
  • Personally, I wouldn't quibble. The pan itself would be cheap, and those quotes are usually just a one-price deal, i.e., install AC is $1700 + cost of AC. One project may require more duct board, another would require more condensate line, etc., but they just charge the one price because nickel and diming just makes the process more difficult.
    – longneck
    Jan 5, 2016 at 14:28
  • Sounds good. I'll happily go on with life. :-) Jan 5, 2016 at 15:45

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