It’s time to turn your furnace on for the cold weather season and when you go to the basement to change the filter, you discover a puddle of water. What? First, don’t panic. While a leaking furnace isn’t common, there are several causes for it. The first step is to determine which type of furnace you have. A high-efficiency (condensing) furnace will have white PVC ducts and a standard-efficiency (conventional) furnace has metal ductwork. High-efficiency furnaces heat for a longer period, so the gases cool, then condense, and the water goes down the drain. With a “regular” furnace, all gases are dispersed through the ducts, so there is no condensation, and therefore, no water.

A leaking furnace isn’t a major problem but can quickly turn into one if not promptly addressed. Water can rust out furnace components and increase the risk of mold in your basement. In addition. Water can damage the electrical components in your furnace which can cause much more serious problems, such as shorting out the circuitry.

Here are a few causes of a leaking high-efficiency furnace:

  • Blocked condensate drain hose. The blockage can cause leaking and pooling water.
  • Leaking condensate pump. If the condensate pump is blocked, water has nowhere to go and will leak from the furnace.
  • Faulty inducer assembly. Condensate travels to the inducer assembly through a condensate drain hose. If there is a crack in the inducer, it can leak into the furnace.

Some causes of leaks in conventional furnaces:

  • Water leak in the humidifier. If your furnace has a built-in humidifier, any breaks, cracks, or clogs in the humidier’s drainage lines can cause water to leak.
  • Drain pan damage. This is actually an AC problem. The purpose of the AC drain pan is to collect condensation and if there is a crack in it, water will leak out. Check the furnace when your AC is running to see if the water problem worsens.
  • Problems with vent pipes. The flue pipes carry gases out of the house. If these pipes are too big or have no slope, too much air gets in, gases get trapped, then cool and condensate, causing leaks.

If you notice water around the bottom of your furnace, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167. We’ll come out and check your furnace and diagnose what’s causing the leak. Our phones are answered by a live person 27/4 and in most situations, we can come out the same day. To stave off leaks and other furnace problems, schedule regular season system maintenance with us or join the Atlas Butler Comfort Club.