Common Causes Behind Your Furnace Leaks

Turning on your furnace at the start of the cold season often comes with some new sounds and smells. While many of these functioning signs are normal, it’s important to be able to identify your furnace’s potential warning signals. Catching an issue early can make a huge difference in your future repair costs. For example, a water leak on or near your heating system may mean something is going wrong that could impact your family’s comfort. Here are a few of the most common reasons behind a leaking furnace.

Compromised Heat Exchanger

Your furnace’s heat exchanger is responsible for keeping carbon monoxide from leaking into your home. During the heating process, the gas is kept safely contained while the air is heated to be distributed through the ductwork. This process causes the metal heat exchanger to expand when it heats up and contract when it cools down leading to a needed repair.

Over the years, this expanding and contracting will wear out the component, causing it to crack or develop holes. Condensation will then form in the system, increasing the risk of rust and corrosion. An excessive amount of moisture will lead to water leaks around the furnace. Heat exchanger issues are often accompanied by a change in the flame color as well as a rotten eggs odor.

Clogged Condensate Drain

Both your air conditioner and furnace have a condensate line that allows moisture to safely be removed from the system. In a heating system, this line works to remove humidity created by the evaporator coil. Your furnace uses a ground drain to send it out of the system and the home. Unfortunately, constant moisture and heat can often create an abundance of slime growth. This slime impedes the flow of water, causing substantial water leaks.

Faulty Condensate Pump

High-efficiency furnaces often utilize a condensate pump to direct moisture out of the system before it turns into a liquid. When this pump becomes damaged or faulty, moisture can’t efficiently be removed. If enough water accumulates in the condensate drain line, it will overflow into the furnace and onto your basement floor. A broken condensate pump often makes a loud gurgling sound as it struggles to pump out the water.

Malfunctioning Humidifier

Whole-house humidifiers work to add safe amounts of moisture to your home. These systems are installed near your furnace inside the entry of your ductwork. If your humidifier malfunctions, water can leak into your HVAC system and home. Depending on the size of the leak, you may notice visible water damage on your walls and belongings. If not caught in time, you can even be at risk of dangerous mold growth.

Dirty Air Filter

A clogged or dirty air filter will cause a host of issues in your furnace. When an air filter is left in place for too long, it collects a massive amount of debris. This dust, hair and dirt buildup impedes airflow into your furnace. Without proper airflow, moisture can also become trapped and form ice buildup on the evaporator coils. As this moisture freezes and melts, it creates a constant water leak.

Importance of Maintenance

Most furnace issues that cause leaking can be corrected or avoided altogether with annual maintenance. It can be difficult to pinpoint what’s causing a moisture issue without the right tools and training. It’s possible that your furnace is fine but your air conditioner has a clogged line or leaking drain pan.

The moment you notice a leaking issue, call for maintenance as soon as possible. Unchecked moisture issues can directly result in mold growth, corrosion and rust. What started as a dirty air filter may quickly become a system-wide issue. Schedule maintenance at least twice a year to protect your HVAC system’s efficiency and usefulness. It’s ideal to have your furnace professionally serviced before the cold season starts to ensure it will last the long winter months.

Experienced Heating and Cooling Specialists

Get the best top-rated HVAC services from the experts at Polar Express Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Lake Elsinore, CA. Our certified technicians have more than 20 years of experience providing commendable heating and cooling services. Trust us to prioritize your health and unique comfort needs. We’re ready to repair and maintain your furnace and air conditioner. Our team can install new, state-of-the-art HVAC systems, test your indoor air quality and offer air filtration services. Schedule your appointment with Polar Express Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Lake Elsinore today.

Meet the Author
Anthony Dieringer
Anthony Dieringer

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