Of all the problems you'd expect from your furnace, a water leak often ranks as one of the strangest and unexpected. You don't expect your furnace to leak water, but that's exactly what could happen during its operation for a variety of reasons. An ongoing water leak can damage your flooring, walls, and even portions of your furnace. The following actually highlights three common issues that could cause water to leak from your furnace.
1. Clogged Condensate Drain
Condensation actually happens when warm air not only loses heat but also its ability to hold large amounts of moisture. This phenomenon often happens in high-efficiency furnaces, where the heat extraction process is so thorough that combustion gases cool significantly and then condense. Under normal circumstances, the condensate drain line redirects this condensation away from the furnace.
If the condensate drain becomes clogged with debris or algae growth, the resulting overflow can allow water to pool around the furnace. The same result can happen if there's a crack or break in the condensate drain line. An experienced HVAC contractor can quickly correct these issues by removing the clog in question or replacing the broken drain line.
2. Faulty Humidifier
If you have a humidifier integrated into your furnace, then it may be the source of your leaks. Plumbing connections leading to the humidifier can leak, resulting in tell-tale puddles around your furnace, as well as a wet air filter. After pinpointing the source of the leak, an HVAC contractor, like those at I C E Heating & Cooling, can patch the leak or replace the entire section of offending pipe. An annual HVAC service check can help spot and prevent humidifier leaks.
3. Faulty Secondary Heat Exchanger
If you own a high-efficiency furnace, then you're probably familiar with its secondary heat exchanger. Like the primary heat exchanger, the secondary heat exchanger extracts heat from passing combustion gases to circulate throughout the home. Secondary heat exchangers extract what little heat remains in the exhaust stream, causing it to cool down and condense from vapor to liquid form.
A crack in the secondary heat exchanger can cause this condensate to leak out along with any exhaust gases still traveling through the device. Suspected heat exchanger leaks should be resolved as soon as possible to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Repairing a secondary heat exchanger can be a hard task for an HVAC contractor. Most experts prefer to replace the entire furnace rather than take the time and expense of repairing a heat exchanger.