Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 6/13/2015

My pan is rusted in my HVAC air handler. I've been told I have to replace the entire air handler unit?

The air handler has date of 1981 and the outside unit has been replaced within the last ten years, I think. I just bought the townhouse 3 years ago. I have gotten two opinions from two different HVAC companies.

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

1 Answer

Voted Best Answer

Sounds like the pan is not availiable. Or they are concerned that removing the coil to replace the pan,it will fall apart.

Starting this year Federal Law requires a minimum SEER (efficiency),which will require a matching system.BTW, fines for the contractor are excessive!

The newer outdoor unit is not likely a match for a new indoor unit that is made today,you could ask them,but we seldom find a match with over 5 year old units


Answered 5 years ago by BayAreaAC


Two other alternatives - have them put a new or preferably larger pan (if there is vertical space) UNDER the existing one, so the current leaky pan drains down into the new lower one, then piped to drainage as usual. Rusty metal Rustoleum old pan to prevent corrosion spread.

Other alternatives - use a heavy pond liner materials (PVC like Hypalon is better than HDPE because it shapes easier) to form a liner for the pan, then replumb the drain with a sealed drain fitting through this liner, similar to how a preformed shower or floor drain is sealed to the surface it passes through, then trim liner top edges to suit and not interfere with airflow.

In areas where local fire code prohibits any potentially combustible material in the ducting, an HVAC or Plumbing contractor could form a soldered or brazed metal pan to fit down inside the existing one - need to be careful to avoid incompatible metals to prevent catalytic corrosion, so using plastic is best if feasible. Also reduces corrosion risk from evaporator cleaning solutions if cleaned in place.

Another alternative (again, if not prohibited by fire code) - if pan is only rusted, but not holed through (or only a very few places) is patching with epoxy putty, then coating with either rusty metal primer then a couple of spray coats of rust-resistant paint like rustoleum, or after epoxy putty patching of any holes spray coat with several coats (let dry between each) of asphaltic car undercoating spray (available at auto parts stores) to make it waterproof.

I have also seen plastic trays (bottoms of reefer/freezer containers like from Hefty and Rubbermaid and such) placed inside rusted out catch pans, cut down to appropriate height, and replumbed so there is a gasketed or plumbers dope compression seal of the drain pipe through it. Obviously, if going withe the pan liner idea, cheaper for the homeowner to find an appropriate sized one to use than to pay the plumber to roam through WalMart or such to find one.

Also, if your HVAC guy could not come up with a better fix than replacing the entire unit, I would be thinking of replacing him instead - cheaper, and likely a better long-term fix. You could tell him he has become obsolete and been replaced with a new model. There are all too many repair people these days who go with the "replace the entire unit" philosophy rather than replacing only the parts the need it, and occasionally coming up with an acceptable "fix" rather than a major repair cost or hand fabricating a part to replace a non-critical item.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy