You’re running your furnace. But before it can sufficiently warm your home, it suddenly stops working. That’s odd. So you check out the furnace and immediately notice a puddle of water around it. That’s even more odd! Your first thought might be, “Is this some kind of chemical leak? Is it dangerous?”
Actually, it’s probably just water, and it wouldn’t be unusual to see it coming from a high-efficiency furnace. You’re most likely encountering a problem with the condensate line or leak.
While water is harmless, the leak itself is not something you’ll want to ignore. Your best bet is to call for furnace repair in Grand Rapids, MI so they can come to diagnose and fix the problem. Keep reading and we’ll explain the possible reason for this problem and what it means for your furnace.
Confirm You’re Dealing With a High-Efficiency Furnace
First off, you may be wondering how to tell if you own a high-efficiency furnace. The easiest way is by finding out the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of the furnace. Your furnace should have a yellow sticker on it that will tell you. If the AFUE rating is 90% or higher, you can be certain you have a high-efficiency model.
Another way to tell is by checking to see what kind of flue pipe you have installed. A metal flue pipe is indicative of an older model, while one made of PVC indicates high-efficiency.
And finally, a dead giveaway as to whether not you have a high-efficiency furnace is if it has a condensate line and drain.
So How Could My Furnace Be Leaking?
It sounds crazy, right? How could a furnace be leaking water? Well, it’s not as wild as you think.
High-efficiency furnaces use two heat exchangers instead of just one. They do double the work of a single heat exchanger, and that can cause the heated gases to condense. Condensing gases create condensation, and that condensation needs to be drained out of the system.
If something is preventing the condensate from draining properly, that can manifest as a puddle of water around your furnace. Some reasons this could happen include:
- Clogged Condensate Line: A common cause is from mold growing inside the tubing.
- Clogged Condensation Drain: The drain itself could become clogged with debris.
- Condensate Line Cracks: Lines can wear out over time and develop cracks.
What Happens if the Clog or Leak Isn’t Fixed?
A condensate line or drain that isn’t working properly can cause the furnace to shut down. This is usually due to the pressure switch activating.
The pressure switch is a safety device that will activate if the air pressure in the furnace is inadequate. Since oxygen is required for combustion, the proper amount of air pressure is necessary. Less-than-adequate air pressure could lead to flames rolling out of the furnace in search of oxygen. This can be just as dangerous as it sounds, possibly starting a house fire.
Luckily the pressure switch is there to prevent that from happening. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping up with regular maintenance for the sake of both the pressure switch and the condensate line.