Why Is Your Furnace Leaking Water?

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If you wander down into your basement in the winter and notice that your furnace is leaking water, you're likely to be a bit surprised. After all, furnaces don't use water in their heating processes. In many cases, water leaking from a furnace is not a problem that should cause major concern, but it is not one you should ignore, either. There are three possible causes to consider.

The condensation tubing or drain may be blocked.

Most newer furnaces have a condensation tube that collects the condensation that forms as the furnace operates. This tube generally empties the small amount of water it collects into a floor drain, or it carries it to a little pump. If the tube becomes blocked, the water may end up pooling in the bottom of your furnace and dribbling out onto the floor.

Look for the condensation tube on your furnace; it is generally clear and filled with liquid. If there appears to be any material blocking it, this could be the source of your problem. Try using your fingers to ease the blocked material through the soft tubing and out its end. If the tubing is not flexible, you may have to turn off the power to your furnace, disconnect the tube, and use a piece of wire or something else that's long and thin to clear the blockage from the tube before reattaching it.

Also take a close look at the drain into which the tube empties. If it has become clogged with dust or debris, the liquid might just be spilling onto the floor instead of going down the drain. Usually, giving the drain a good scrub and wipe-down will fix this problem.

If you have a condensation pump, it may not be working.

If your furnace's condensation tube delivers the moisture to a pump rather than to the floor drain, it could be that the pump is not working. Take a seat near your furnace while it's running, and watch that pump closely. If it does not kick on and start moving water within an hour or so, there's a good chance it is not working. You should also be concerned if the pump starts making a strange grinding noise instead of pumping water, or if it turns on, but the water in the tube (either leading into or out of the pump) does not appear to be moving.

Should you think a broken pump is to blame for your water accumulation issues, call your HVAC specialist. Generally, small pumps of this nature are quite simple and inexpensive to replace.

If your tubing and drain are clear, and your pump seems to be working properly, then perhaps the water under your furnace is coming not from the furnace itself, but from another source. Check over your water heater, any cracks in the walls, and other appliances in the basement to see if you can get to the bottom of the issue.

Speak to a local HVAC specialist or click here for more information.

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