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Ongoing SpacePac issues, flooded blower (ESP-3642D)

I had a SpacePac system installed in 2015; and it never worked properly. I'd have my AC on from April until September CONSTANTLY, and it would barely cool. Also over time the joints on main square duct would break and drip water everywhere.

I finally got the original contractor to agree to add more Runs (as there weren't enough); and to redo the main ductwork.

Although it seems to cool my house better, it fails in the exact same way.

1. after 24 hours the internal pan fills up and begins to flood the front of the blower insulation.
2. condensation begins to drip from the bottom of the unit
3. Condensation travels on the bottom of the main duct; and begins to leak out of the duct seals and connection to runs.
4. After 48 hours the overflow pan will fill and the system will turn off

They have rerun the Drainline with the correct air gap and S trap. This never seems to overflow or be blocked from the inside.

They have shimmed up the side of the unit opposite to the drainline hole; however it seems you would need to raise it many inches to get all the water to flow in that direction.

Notes.
1. The internal float switch has been disabled.
2. This is the older ESPD model, the newer ESPG model seems to have an additional LOWER drain connection
3. 3.5 Ton Unit; now with 23 Runs

Has anyone had similar issues and modified the ESPD to drain correctly?

Thanks in advance!

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Comments

  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Here are some pictures to go with my post.







  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    The last SP we put in, and this was years ago, had an issue with condensate being sucked off the coil. This can happen with any cooling system. I remember sitting in that attic at 5PM spraying the daylights out of the coil with coil cleaner to get a layer of oil off the coil that made the water bead and get sucked off instead of running down the coil.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Thanks for your comment John. How can I check if the condensation is being sucked off vs running down the coil?
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,673
    My suggestion would be to get your installer back there (many installers don't make great service technicians though).

    Ask him to bring a magnehelic gauge so he can check both supply duct and return duct static pressure according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

    Ask him to open up the Installation Instructions to see if those measurements are within the manufacturer's range. My guess is that they are not.

    The fix is easy from there.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    Does the drain line have a trap that's at least 3" deep?

    Airflow is also critical. 23 outlets may NOT be enough. It depends upon the size of the tubes, the length and how much sound attenuating tubing was used.

    These systems require proper training to know how to design and install them so they function properly. We've never had any issues with any high velocity system that we've installed because we do them by the book. But, I've seen others really cob 'em up.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Stephen,

    Thank you for your suggestions. I don't believe that the original setup (for 10 years) had the correct static pressure with the 17 runs; however the installer indicated that the pressure is now within range. One thing to note is that somewhere along those 10 years I replaced the stock metal intake filter with a lower flow disposable filter. The installer ordered me another original reusable filter. No clue if this would effect the static pressure readings they made with the disposable filter.

    Another thing to note is that with the ESPD vs ESPG versions (old vs new) they have changed the recommendations of how many runs are needed per ton. For the ESPD there is a minimum of 19; while with the ESPG there is a minimum of 21 or 25. Do you know if anything has changed with the 2 versions of the blowers that would effect these numbers?
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Ironman,

    The Airgap is at the level of the drain hole, however the trap is more than 3" deeper than that hole. Or are you referring to the depth of the trap within itself?
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555

    Ironman,

    The Airgap is at the level of the drain hole, however the trap is more than 3" deeper than that hole. Or are you referring to the depth of the trap within itself?

    There should be no air gap between the drain pan connection and the trap.

    SpacePak provides the correct trap with each unit. It will be 3'' deep.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Correct, for the airgap
    I was referring to the vent on the top of the trap.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555

    Correct, for the airgap
    I was referring to the vent on the top of the trap.

    Is that the outlet or inlet of the trap?

    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Here is a better wide angle picture. This is an airvent for the trap; as the system is under pressure.
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    Vent on top of trap should be closed. You need the water to fall from the internal pan into the trap.
    With it open, air will be sucked in through that hole and stop the condensate from draining.
    The vent is needed after the water traps with a vent higher then the pan inside the air handler.
    Ironman
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555

    Here is a better wide angle picture. This is an airvent for the trap; as the system is under pressure.

    Plug the top of that Tee!

    The purpose of the trap is to stop negative pressure in the drain line. The water seal in the trap separates the drain line from the negative pressure in the blower compartment. The purpose is defeated with the Tee open on top. The Tee should have been installed on the discharge side of the trap. As it now is, air is being drawn in from the open Tee which pulls the water back into the pan until it overflows. Your installer is a knucklehead.

    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Thanks! I'll plug it up now. Will not having the T on the discharge end cause a problem? What is it's purpose?
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    Take the Ell off the drain where it goes into the condensate pump and put the Tee there.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    No the pump is vented or the water wouldn't pump out, so the water should fill the trap and fall into the pump. Just plug the tee and test it out.

  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    All plugged up. will the moisture in the system go away, or do I need to vacuum it out and dry it up?
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    To my contractors benefit, it does look per the diagram MINUS the plug. So the T is in the correct place, just shouldn't be open. Maybe the T is for cleaning?
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    You don't have to start defending that hack. The picture clearly shows the plug on top of the T.
    The condensation was filling up inside the unit in the fan was throwing it around.
    You can vacuum it out to speed up the process, but with the water draining it will eventually dry
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Thank you everyone. I'll vacuum it out tonight if it's still wet and report back tomorrow.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    edited September 2016
    Alright, I didn't get to vacuuming it last night, but I just vacuumed about 2-3 gallons out of the pan and inside of the unit this morning. It did not dry on its own over the evening. I've turned it back on and lets see if the Condensation continues today.

    I've attached diagrams of the Blower & duct config along with the CFMs per outlet in my 3 story home. Let me know if you see anything else here to note. I also made this spreadsheet with the approximate lengths of the runs and their Factoring. I have no clue if I did this correct, and I didn't factor in restrictors in here, as I don't know exactly what they used (but I marked the 4 restricted outlets in the diagram with an R).

    Thanks again for all your support.




  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    Assuming your numbers are correct, that's enough for 2.5 tons. Your AHU model number shows that it can do a 3 or 3.5 ton depending upon what outdoor unit is connected. What's the make and model of the outdoor unit?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    I have a carrier 3.5Ton. dont know the exact model offhand.
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,673
    The static pressure measurements I suggested would/will still answer the question to the problem. In short, you need more supplies. I'd start with 5-6. What is the ID of your return duct?
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,673
    Where to put those supplies is another story. A room by room heat gain calculation holds that answer but you probably have a good idea as to what rooms aren't cooling as well as others.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    6-8 supplies per ton should be the minimum with high velocity systems. I do 7 and never had a problem.
    The more you have the quitter it will be. So with that install I would have put at least 24 outlets.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    The return vent is 14x30. I have no clue the size of the 15' return duct; it looks to be the same round dimensions as the opening of the blower where it connects.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    The contractor indicated the Static pressure was within the tolerance range with the 23 runs. How would I check the Static pressure on my own?
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Did anyone read my comment about ESPD vs ESPG and how the older units have a lower run requirement? Did SpacePak just update this number for all Air Handlers or just the latest version?

    When a system does not have enough runs, is flooding and condensation typical?

    How is one to determine if they have enough runs to satisfy the tonnage?
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    If you don't see any frost on the coils, all the copper is sweating and it doesn't sound like a train is running through your house, but it's not cooling, I say the system is under sized.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    It is cooling very well, until the condensation breaks the main seals... Floods the overflow and turns off the unit. Right now it's less about having the perfect for my home, and just getting this setup to no have condensation issues.

    Yes, it's a major problem; but it should be fixable.

    My contractor is most likely going to point towards replacing the air handler, which has gotten quite rusty. In fact it produces some rust particle sediment out of the condensation drain.
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    In that case, if the primary pan is rusted through, that's probably your best option.
    With the system off and the cover open, have you tried pouring water directly into the pan the coil sits in, then see if it's all going to the pump or if the insulation is getting wet?
    That should tell you if the pan is leaking
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    I was told the pan is not leaking by my contractor
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    I'll try this pan test later today. However I don't think it's the case because of the height of the water in that pain upon failure.
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    If the pan is holding water, then there's a blockage in the drain. Replace the trap and clean exist hole from the pan.
    It should not hold water like that.
  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    We replaced the trap and cleaned the drain recently. Please describe how this gray sponge and white plastic sheet is supposed to exist in that rear area? Just seems like an odd configuration.

    The drain does work. However on this model, the drain does not sit at the bottom of the pan (ESPD vs ESPG). So you get about 1/2" of water before it drains. Maybe thats what the Plastic sheet and sponge is for?

  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    Just an update. 8 hours ago I completely cleaned out all water, and now I have a nice pool in the internal pan. I do have a question. With the design of the coil block (excuse my terminology). taking up the entire width of the pan; how does condensation get out of the pan on the exit side of the coils? the other side has the drain hole. Right now the water level in the pan on the exit side of the coils is 3 times as deep as it is on entrance side.

    I also found this hole in the bottom of the coil block on the exit side of the coils. Looks like this could be the source of the water, unless it's supposed to be there.


  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    I JUST looked at the ESPD and the ESPG info, they moved the drain holes in the newer model to the exit side of the coils... So is this a design flaw?

    ESPD (Mine, Older)


    ESPG (Newer)


  • mtpleasantben
    mtpleasantben Member Posts: 24
    I think I have found the main issue. That narrow diagonal drain line under the coil block needs to be 100% clear, and requires the unit to be perfectly level. I've leveled it out and it began to drain. There might also be rush sediment build-up inside of there. Any recommendations on how to keep that narrow passage clean?
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 597
    Regular maintenance. When your changing your filter, check your drain. That's about all you can do.