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Old 11-04-2016, 09:58 AM   #1
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1985 25' Sovereign
Weatherford , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 2
Air Conditioner Condensate Drain Issues

I have never posted here, but have been an Airstream (AS) owner for many years: my first AS was a 1985 25' Sovereign and now I have a 2013 27FB that I purchased used this last May. I am posting to relate an a/c condensate drainage problem that took 5 months to resolve that may be educational for many AS owners.

My new 27FB was a well cared for unit with two Dometic a/c units which I purchased in western Colorado. The owner claimed to have only used it for trips to Quartzite, AZ which may explain why he did not notice that he had a problem with his rear a/c condensate drain. Upon purchase and inspection I found that there was a slight staining of the wood where the refrigerator plug is located (inside and above the outside access door). This source of the staining became evident over the next few weeks of travel and especially upon our return to Texas for licensing. The increase in humidity and subsequent condensate make resulted in a situation where all the condensate from the rear a/c unit drained behind the refrigerator via the plug area. It's a little disconcerting to have water running out of a 110 V plug. No water would drain from one of the two 1/2" tubes located in the street side wheel well. After closer observation I determined that the non-draining tube was the one associated with the rear a/c, and that the condensate was coming from the horizontal inner shell joint above the plug location. Water also appeared from the same joint inside the trailer to the left of the living room TV. No water was evident in the ceiling by the a/c unit.

All of the above led me to conclude that there must be a breach in the drain tube. I contacted the AS warrantee group in Ohio and was told that my conclusions meant nothing without corroboration from an AS dealer. I got this a month or so later while installing curb-side and butt awnings. Many phone calls later, AS agreed to absorb the labor cost to find/fix the tube breach even though I am the second owner. The work was done in the Denver, CO area, and a hole was discovered in the drain tube about a foot downstream of the a/c unit in the ceiling above the refrigerator. It looked like a screw (or rivet) had been cut the tube during manufacture of the trailer.

We traveled for the next couple of weeks in low humidity areas so no condensate drainage occurred. But upon return to a high humidity area we found that the rear a/c unit's condensate was overflowing the collection cups and running off the trailer roof to whatever side was down-slope. No evidence of water coming into the trailer as before. I emailed and called both AS in Ohio and the dealer in CO receiving no responses to my requests for ideas. I blew compressor air up the drain tube and could hear it exiting the collection cups. Water in the tube and cups was blown out onto the roof. No evidence of water in the trailer. So the leak was fixed but the system was not right.

I took the inside cover off the a/c unit and removed the lower support bracket (4 long bolts) to more easily access the drain tubes from the collection cups and the "T" where they meet to drain to the wheel well. I disconnected the main drain line from the "T" and blew down it. I really expected resistance since I had concluded that there must be a kink in the tube that would open with compressor air but would keep the water from draining, thus backing up and overflowing onto the roof. I ran a small flexible cable up the drain tube from the wheel well and down from the a/c unit and only met resistance at the edges of the barbed connector used to fix the hole in the tube. So I concluded that there was no kink. What to do?

I put the system back together. The only change being to make sure there was a downward tilt to the leg of the "T" that fed the main drain tube. Guess what? Upon turning on the a/c unit the water now drained out of the tube at the wheel well. WTF? It has been working well (in a high humidity climate) for the last week.

I've come to the conclusion that the water did not drain after fixing the tube breach due to a vapor lock or water surface tension at the repair connector. My advice to others with similar problems is to not give up, keep trying different things, and don't expect a lot of help from AS.
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