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Plumbing but also heating?

Summerside_Fry Member Posts: 1
This is the drain from my furnace. Does anyone know what’s happening here?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,175
    What kind of drain? Is this the drain line from a condensing furnace -- high efficiency? If so, and it doesn't have an acid neutralizer on it (can't see the whole line) what's happening is quite to be expected. The condensate, which is a strong acid, is happily dissolving your basement floor.

    Not even remotely surprising, but whoever installed it should be responsible for redoing the drain correctly with a neutralizer on it and repairing the floor.

    And, friend, do it yesterday -- before it ruins your septic system, if you have one, or your local water pollution authority discovers it... that will be expensive.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesZman
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,553
    Looks more like a small drain backup to me, what with the debris that's laying on top of the grate. Did you have a lot of rainfall recently?
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 14,560
    Is this draining your AC coil, condensing furnace, or both??
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,106
    What's the question exactly?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,225
    Do you guys use acid neutralizers on all-PVC drainage systems?
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,914
    My first boiler was a near condensing WM GV, I short changed the drain hose and it was 6" from the drain, within 1 year the concrete was etched down to gravel stones.
    I did extend the hose directly into the PVC drain to cure that issue.

    I have since change to a ModCon with a built in neutralizer and still dump the water down the same drain.
    That drain also does AC condensate and water softener flush.
    The entire drain/sewer piping is PVC for about 600' and then ties into clay tile.
    I feel that the added water from household use will dilute the acid enough to not be the eco hazard Jamie mentions.

    I do understand where he is coming from, eventually all gas fired appliances will be condensing and could create problems in sewer systems. But I feel there is enough dilution water added to the system.

    I do add the neutralizer if the UG piping is CI or in the rare case copper DWV.
    As a test feature I add a 3/8" copper tube in the end of the vinyl tubing from a cond pump. If the copper starts to degrade then the neutralizer is done and needs renewal.

    I was told of an elderly couple trying to save water on the farm and never flushed the WC unless it was brown, they had 3" copper DWV on the WC and eventually the urine that trickled down the drain ate the bottom of the copper pipe. This took several years but shows the power of pee.....no one wanted to change the pipe IIRC.
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,769
    JohnNY said:

    Do you guys use acid neutralizers on all-PVC drainage systems?

    Nope, almost none. If someone flushes the toilet twice a week it's enough to dilute the condensate before it gets anywhere harmful. Systems where the condensate drains into a sump basket, then I'll neutralize it unless the customer doesn't want to pay for it. They're made aware of the potential issues, but I don't force it down their throats. With that said, my furnace at home has been dumping condensate into the sump basket for 13 years with a cast iron pump sometimes submerged for months. Still the original pump there as well as the lift pump in the septic tank. I know better now, but it's an experiment at this point
    rick in Alaska
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,175
    Cast iron, clay, even PVC -- not to worry. And if you're on septic, the tank is big enough to handle the acid. Or at least it should be!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,914
    IMO, I think cast iron is a concern.
    If a floor drain it may not be getting any other water for dilution.

    Clay and PVC should be OK, I think.

    The only issue with clay sewer tile, that I am aware of, is roots getting into the joints. When that was installed here in the 1930's (WPA project), there was no previous experience with sewer lines and root penetration.

    FWIW, the palace of Knossos on the island of Crete (Greece) had clay tile drainage dating back to 1200 to 1400 BC. (I lived on Crete for 39 months and have seen the original "squatie pottie" at the palace and have used some there and also while traveling thru the Mideast)
    It is still intact, this point was used some years ago by clay tile companies to demonstrate the longevity of their product.....I hope they have improved the joint connections by now.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,887
    So back to the original post, is this actually a drain or did someone just break a hole in the floor, fill it with gravel and put a drain cover over it?