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What Should You Do When Your Furnace Leaks Water?

Posted On: December 6, 2018

A water leak is the last thing you’d expect from your furnace. Seeing a slowly growing puddle of water around your heating system seems strange at first, but water leaks stemming from furnaces are surprisingly common.

However, a furnace water leak isn’t something you’d want to ignore. Furnace water leaks can not only damage your home’s flooring and carpeting but also erode concrete and certain metals, due to its potentially acidic nature.

Anytime you see a water leak of any kind, you should take care of it as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about furnace water leaks.

Why Furnaces Leak Water

Modern furnaces can develop water leaks for a variety of reasons. Here are a few common causes to consider as you troubleshoot your furnace problems:

Damaged Heat Exchanger

Condensation isn’t just an issue for air conditioners. Today’s high-efficiency furnaces also produce condensate as a byproduct of their efficient heating processes.

As the furnace’s primary and secondary heat exchangers extract heat energy from passing exhaust gases, the gases shed water in the form of condensate as they lose heat. A cracked heat exchanger not only allows dangerous gases to escape but also permits acidic condensate to leak out.

Clogged Condensate Trap

Condensate traps are essential for carrying away acidic condensate from high-efficiency furnaces. A clogged trap can cause condensate to back up and overflow out of the furnace, affecting the unit’s performance and overall longevity. A broken or accidentally disconnected condensate drain line can also result in furnace leaks.

Leaking Humidifier

A built-in humidifier can add comfort by keeping your home’s indoor humidity levels balanced, but it can also be an unexpected source of furnace leaks. Any HVAC system with a built-in humidifier will have plumbing to supply that humidifier with water. These water lines can develop leaks over the course of their lifespan, resulting in a furnace leak.

External Leaks

You shouldn’t rule out the possibility of an external leak being the source of your furnace leak woes. For instance, a leaky water line positioned above your furnace can simulate an actual furnace leak. If your furnace is located in an attic, a roof leak can achieve the same results.

How to Deal With Furnace Leaks

Pinpointing the exact source of the leak is essential for tackling furnace leaks. Your HVAC technician will perform a thorough inspection of your heating system, searching for any signs of furnace leaks as well as any other preventive issues that could pose a serious problem for your furnace later on.

The steps your HVAC technician takes to stop the furnace leak in its tracks depends on the type of leak encountered. For leaks caused by a clogged condensate trap, your HVAC technician will flush out the blockage and recommend regularly scheduled trap cleanings to prevent future clogs. Damaged drain lines may also be replaced as needed.

For leaks caused by your humidifier, your HVAC technician will check the water lines for any signs of cracks or pinhole leaks. Technicians will also check the connections between your humidifier and water lines for proper fit. Ill-fitting and poorly connected lines can easily result in unexpected water leaks.

When it comes to a leak involving the primary or secondary heat exchanger, however, your HVAC technician may recommend a complete heating system replacement. Heat exchanger repairs can be complicated and time-consuming. Most technicians find it easier and safer to replace the heat exchanger or even the entire furnace. You can consult with your HVAC technician and learn which options work best for your home.

If you’re tired of your furnace leaking water, or if you have another heating system problem to deal with, give the experts at C. B. Lucas a call. We’re always ready to help with your heating and cooling system needs.

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