Furnaces are an essential part of any home’s heating system, but they can also be a source of frustration when they start to leak water. A leaking furnace can cause damage to your floors, walls, and ceilings, as well as create an unpleasant musty odor and mold. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why your furnace may be leaking water, and what furnace repair you can do to fix the problem before you get too much water damage.
Possible Reasons Water is Coming From the Furnace
Clogged condensate drain
The condensate drain is a small pipe that carries away the water that is created during the combustion process. If this condensate line becomes clogged, the water has nowhere to go and will start a condensation leak out of the furnace.
How to Fix It
- Locate the condensate drain: The condensate drain is typically located near the bottom of the furnace, and is connected to a PVC pipe that carries the condensate away from the furnace.
- Check for blockages: Use a pipe snake or a stiff wire to clear out any blockages in the condensate drain. This could be caused by algae, mold, insects, or other debris.
- Clean the PVC pipe: Use a pipe cleaning solution or a mixture of water and vinegar to clean out the PVC pipe. This will help to remove any buildup that may be causing the clog.
- Check the trap: Make sure the condensate trap is not clogged. The condensate trap is typically a small plastic or metal container that sits in the PVC pipe. It is designed to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home.
- Check the safety switch: Make sure the safety switch, which is typically located near the condensate drain, is functioning properly. If it isn’t, it may need to be replaced.
- Consult the manual: If the problem persists, refer to the furnace manual for troubleshooting tips or contact the manufacturer for assistance.
- Professional help: It’s also a good idea to call an HVAC professional technician to check it and fix it if needed.
It’s important to keep in mind that a clogged condensate drain can cause damage to the furnace and even can lead to dangerous gasses being released into the air.
Dirty air filter
A dirty air filter generally won’t directly cause your furnace to leak, especially during the winter. However, in the summertime when your central air conditioner is running, a dirty filter can impact airflow across the coil, which may cause extra condensation and leaking.
How to Fix It:
To fix this problem, you should check your air filter on a regular basis and replace it when it becomes dirty.
If your furnace has a built-in humidifier, it may be the source of the water leak. A faulty humidifier can cause water to leak out of the furnace and onto the floor.
How to Fix It:
- Check the water level: Make sure the water tank is full, and the float valve is functioning properly.
- Clean the humidifier: Remove any mineral buildup or mold on the humidifier by cleaning it with white vinegar or a humidifier cleaning solution.
- Replace the water panel: Check if the water panel needs to be replaced, as it may be clogged or no longer functioning properly.
- Check the fan: Make sure the fan that blows air through the humidifier is working properly.
- Check the wiring: Ensure that all the wiring connections are secure and in good condition.
- Check the humidistat: Make sure the humidistat is working properly and set to the desired humidity level.
- Consult the manual: If the problem persists, refer to the humidifier’s manual for troubleshooting tips or contact the manufacturer for assistance.
It’s also a good idea to have a professional technician check it and fix it if needed.
Leaky condensate pump
If your furnace is located in a basement or crawl space, it may have a condensate pump that is used to pump the water away from the furnace. If this pump becomes faulty, it can cause water to leak out of the furnace.
How To Fix It
- Check the tubing: Make sure the tubing that carries the condensate from the furnace to the pump is not clogged or leaking. If it is, clean or replace the tubing as necessary.
- Check the pump: Make sure the condensate pump itself is not leaking. If it is, it may need to be replaced.
- Check the float switch: Make sure the float switch, which activates the pump, is functioning properly and not stuck.
- Check the discharge line: Make sure the discharge line, which carries the condensate away from the pump, is not clogged or leaking.
- Check the power supply: Make sure the pump is receiving power and that the outlet or switch it is connected to is functioning properly.
- Consult the manual: If the problem persists, refer to the pump’s manual for troubleshooting tips or contact the manufacturer for assistance.
- Professional help: It’s also a good idea to have a professional technician check it and fix it if needed.
It’s important to note that if the leak is coming from the condensate pump, it’s likely that the pump needs to be replaced.
Rusting or corroded furnace
An older furnace that is rusting or corroded can be a source of water leaks.
How to Fix It:
- Identify the source of rust or corrosion: Inspect the furnace to determine where the rust or corrosion is coming from. Common areas to check include the heat exchanger, burners, and any metal parts.
- Clean the furnace: Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove as much rust and corrosion as possible. Clean the affected area with a rust remover solution or a mixture of water and vinegar.
- Apply a rust inhibitor: Once the rust is removed, apply a rust inhibitor to the affected area to prevent further corrosion.
- Check for leaks: Look for any leaks or cracks in the furnace caused by rust or corrosion. If any are found, they should be repaired before the furnace is used again. Be especially vigilant around the heat exchanger. If cleaning corrosion from the heat exchanger reveals a crack or hole, DO NOT USE the furnace. Call a professional to evaluate whether the heat exchanger can be replaced; it cannot be repaired.
- Check for safety hazards: If the rust or corrosion has caused damage to any safety features of the furnace, the furnace should not be used and should be repaired or replaced by a professional.
- Consider replacement: If the rust or corrosion is extensive or affects a critical component of the furnace like the heat exchanger, it may be more cost-effective to replace the furnace rather than attempting to repair it.
It’s important to keep in mind that rust or corrosion in a furnace is a safety hazard and can lead to dangerous gasses being released into the air. Therefore it’s recommended to have a professional technician check it and fix it.
What To Do if Your Furnace is Dripping Water
In conclusion, a leaking furnace can be caused by several different problems, including clogged condensate drains, dirty air filters, faulty humidifiers, leaking condensate pumps, and rusting or corroded components.
To fix the problem, you should try to identify the source of the leak and take appropriate action. If you’re building the house, ensure you have a floor drain in the room where your HVAC system will be installed.
If you’re not sure what’s causing the leak, it’s best to call a professional for help. With proper maintenance and timely repairs, you can prevent your furnace from leaking water and keep your home warm and dry.