Furnace Leaking Water in Winter: What Does It Mean?

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Your furnace is one of those home appliances that you hardly seem to notice… until it stops working. In the dead of winter, a faulty or leaky furnace just isn’t something you want to face.

Naturally, a furnace generates heat, which creates condensation. This is usually removed through a condensate line. If this function is damaged, this could lead to your furnace leaking water in winter.

But this being said, there are a number of other probable causes of a leaking furnace- find out what they are here.

Why Is My Furnace Leaking Water in Winter? 5 Common Causes

There are two common types of furnaces: a conventional furnace and condensing furnace. Conventional models are a little older in design, that’s why condensing furnaces are far more popular in most homes today.

Condensation is a natural process that occurs within a condensing furnace. This means that the furnace not only generates heat, but also water, as a by-product of this process.

This is the primary reason your condensing furnace shouldn’t leak – it should be properly designed to eliminate condensation. It’s always wise to call in the help of an expert when you detect a leak- check out F.H. Furr for more.

If your furnace is leaking, here are the most likely causes.

  1. Condensate Drain Problems

The creation of condensation is a standard process within the function of a furnace. This means that there are specific components designed and built to remove excess condensation.

The condensate drain of a furnace collects condensation and removes it through the drain line, emptying it outside.

If the drain becomes clogged at any point, this means condensation will collect in the condensate pan and overflow. This causes your furnace to leak water. In winter, a frozen pipe is a common cause of drainage pipe clogging. If it’s covered with ice, melt it with warm (not boiling) water, then call in for a furnace repair.

  1. Clogged Air Filter or Evaporator Coils

If you have a split HVAC system, which includes an air conditioning unit and a furnace acting as an air handler, this can cause problems, too.

The air filters in a furnace pull debris out of the air before it’s passed over the evaporator coils to be heated. If these air filters become too dirty or clogged, they cannot filter the air efficiently. This means that condensation that would normally pass over the coils to the condensate drain gets stuck. It then accumulates and can cause furnace leaking.

The same goes for the air filters of an HVAC unit. If both components are not cleaned regularly, this causes furnace leaking and sometimes permanent damage.

  1. A Faulty Secondary Heat Exchanger

A furnace functions by passing heat from burned fuel out into your home. In this case, air is passed over the heated fuel, which makes for heat exchange and a warm home. Some common issues with a heat exchanger include:

  • A cracked heat exchanger
  • A pitted, rusted, or rotted heat exchanger
  • A heat exchanger with holes
  • A sooted heat exchanger

If any of these issues are causing furnace leaking or other issues, a complete replacement may be needed.

  1. A Leaking Furnace Humidifier

This is a very common issue where the humidifier inside your furnace is causing the problem. It’s also an issue that could be caught early enough if you carry out routine furnace maintenance.

A leaking humidifier is something you want to catch early, too. As it can cause plenty of internal damage otherwise. Many furnaces have a built-in air handler with a humidifier. The humidifier is in place to ensure that the air that circulates through your home is not too dry. This means a humidifier adds extra moisture to the air.

This usually involves a mechanism that delivers water to the humidifier, on the outside of the furnace. When a humidifier becomes dirty or clogged, it may start leaking into your furnace.

  1. Faulty Vent Pipe Design

If you have a conventional furnace, defective vent pipe design can cause all types of issues – including condensation build-up. A conventional furnace does not extract any heat from the exhaust gases. Instead, they are expelled as soon as they’re produced. Due to this, condensation does not occur in the vent pipe.

However, condensation will only occur if there is a defect in the design of a vent pipe. For example, if a vent pipe is badly installed, excessively long, has a slope, becomes clogged, etc.

If this is the case, the exhaust gases build-up and remain in the vent pipe, causing a condensation build-up. This can cause water to drip back into the furnace, which could result in furnace leaking.

At the end of the day, furnace condensation is completely normal and to be expected if you have a condensing furnace. However, obvious furnace leaks are not.

If water is clearly dripping or puddling around your furnace, you have a problem. As any homeowner knows- the combination of an electrical appliance and water is a recipe for disaster. That’s why it’s important to identify a furnace leak right away and call in repair services as soon as you can.

Find Home, DIY, Health, and Parenting Advice Here

Is your furnace leaking water in winter? Don’t delay it for another day- call in repair services and get it fixed!

Be sure to check out the rest of this website for all the home DIY and maintenance advice you need. If you’re a parent, we offer helpful articles on raising children, their health, your own health, and so much more.

About Author

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LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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