Sometimes, a problem falls between two specialities

Two years ago, we moved into a new house with central air conditioning via a heat pump, located in the garage.

We quickly realized that the condensation from the coils leaked on the garage floor, dragging rust from the central ventilator casing.

We called the A/C specialist and their diagnostic, costing $200, was clear and simple: “We checked the internal of the ventilation: the water gets properly to the pipe but sadly it, there is a defect: the pipe simply goes to the water table under the garage floor and it obviously overflows, causing the water to escapes from the wrong places. There is nothing we can do.”

We resigned to the fact and accepted our fate. The garage floor would leak forever.

Last summer, our water heater thermostat broke and was replaced. The plumber (who had initially drilled the hole for the A/C unit) saw the leak and I consulted with him on finding a solution to the A/C leak which was back in full action.

“It’s ridiculous. The problem is most likely inside the A/C unit itself but I cannot check inside of it. The A/C guy did a misdiagnostic but I don’t know how to fix it. My guess is that the coupling between the internal of the tube and the tube exiting the A/C unit is leaking and as such, the water falls inside of the A/C unit instead of outside of it”.

I called the A/C and he laughed it off, saying it was impossible. He said the plumber simply didn’t want to admit that he had made a mistake when he didn’t install a proper exhaut pipe under the garage floor during the construction and as such, blamed it on the A/C guy.

We resigned to the facts and once again accepted our fate. The garage floor would leak forever.

This summer however, we do a lot more bicycling and it means that we park on bicycle in the rusty brown water leaking from the A/C.

I called the plumber back and he mentionned he could install a pipe to divert the water directly to the garage drain in the middle of the garage.

I sensed more bullshit, so I decided to simply remove the tube. Within seconds, the garage almost flooded from the water exiting from the A/C unit, but shortly after, a slow flow of condensed water fell directly into the hole below it, showing that the water could exit the A/C, proving the plumber wrong, and that the water could drain via the hole, proving the A/C expert wrong.

So, what was the problem ? The pipe between the A/C unit and the hole was clogged.

I cleaned it, put it back in place, and for the first time in 3 summers, I have a dry garage floor.

For the A/C guy, that pipe is under the care of a plumber, because it is plumbing. For the plumber, that pipe is part of the A/C and thus, under the care of the A/C guy.

As a result, no one saw that it was clogged.

In your line of work, how many cases can you spot where a problem wasn’t solved in time because everyone thought it was another person’s problem?

To be a leader, you need to find these problematic spots. You need to isolate the areas of non-responsability to ensure that the project doesn’t fail.