email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's Always SOMETHING!

I'd love to go days without some problem or other.  A garden hose starts leaking one day so I have to splice it.  I go to my regular barber shop another day and all of a sudden, they want appointments.  Etc.

So I walked down into the basement after dinner and there is water on the floor around the heat pump unit.  The insides unit was almost entirely replaced just in April!  Well, I've had this happen before and there are various causes.  A heat pump inside unit takes humidity out of the inside air.  The condensation collects in a tray, which drains through a pipe to a reservoir that holds about a quart (liter).  When it is filled, a float activates a pump that sends it to the laundry tub for drainage. 

So, the collection tray can get loose and spill water, the pipe can come loose and spill water, the float can fail and spill water out an overflow hole in the reservoir, or the discharge tube can get blocked and spill water backed out the reservoir overflow hole.  There may be other things that can cause water spillage, but those are the ones *I* have experienced. 

After the 1st time, where I paid someone a few hundred dollars to reattach a loose pipe, I have solved them all myself.

This time was messy.  I quickly figured out that the reservoir was full of "goop".  I don't want to be gross here, but it seems to have been some combination of algae and bacterial slime.  Think of it as "thin jello" if that is easier.  LOL!  I knew I had to get the top of the reservoir off , but the modern things get, the more perverse the attachments are.  The manufacturers assume you will call them for repairs and so they consider the parts disposable.  THEY will just slap on a new part.  For several hundred dollars...  The parts aren't designed to be taken apart and fixed.

I took it apart and fixed it...

I had to break a few attachments to get the damn top off finally, cement and duct tape hold things together afterwards very well.  But getting the top of the reservoir off was just the 1st step.  It still wasn't a large opening, and I had to get the sludge out.  Aha, my wet/dry shop vac!  Sucked most of it out.  A large bottle brush grabbed most of the rest.  Refilling, bottle-brushing, and vacuuming the reservoir a few more times got it pretty clean.

But there was still "stuff" inside the reservoir pump itself.  I got into the slots where the water enters the pump with an awl and slowly got most of it out.  When I put it all back together and filled the reservoir a few times, it automatically emptied the reservoir each time.   Hurray!

I dried the floor with an old towel so that I can see if there is any more spillage overnight.   I'll add some bleach to the reservoir when I go shopping tomorrow.  Naturally (and somewhat ironically) I JUST used the last of it yesterday cleaning the laundry tub of some orange growth - which must have been coming from the reservoir discharge just before it failed). 

And it JUST occurred to me that I can add a PVC pipe to the overflow hole to lead into a 5 gallon bucket underneath it so I get some warning about a problem next time. 

Not that I will need that, but the effort will certainly assure the overflow problem NEVER happens again.  You know the rule:  Any problem you make efforts to prevent will never occur again (but if you don't, it will)!

I buy 3-month filters for the heat pump.  And because of cat hair and who knows what else, I replace them every 2 months.  I've added a note on the heat pump to add 1/8 cup of bleach to the reservoir each time too.

I hope the next problem gives me a few days before it occurs...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Perhaps we've brought all this maintenance stuff on ourselves because we choose to live in complex houses, Mark? I'm not suggesting that yours is extravagantly fancy, but what we consider 'ordinary' and 'normal' these days is pretty fancy. And that means that there's lots of stuff to break down and go wrong. Rats!

Sydney, Australia