How Do I Unclog My Furnace?

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If you notice water leaking from your furnace or a puddle forming under your furnace, there are a number of reasons. The most common issue is a leak in the condensation system including a clogged condensate drain line, a break in the condensation line or a failure within the condensate pumps. Each of these issues may be minor and easy to unclog yourself, or they may require a call to professional HVAC technicians.

What Is Condensation?

Conventional furnaces extract heat from natural gas and vents the exhaust quickly out the flue pipe. It is rare for a conventional furnace to leak any fluid because these systems are not efficiently burning the gas. If the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating is 90 percent or higher, your furnace has a cool exhaust and produces condensation. These newer high-efficiency furnaces extract heat from the gas for a longer period of time. When gasses cool and condense, the fluid is drained away from your home. The tell-tale sign of a high-efficiency system is a white PVC drain pipe.

Draining condensate is important to protect the furnace and indoor air quality. Moisture may corrode metal components, affect electrical connections and promote mold growth. Damaged parts reduce performance and may shut down your furnace altogether. Mold spores in the air that circulates through your home is a health concern. Family members with allergies, asthma and other underlying respiratory issues are especially prone to health risks. In short, all condensate needs to be drained away from your furnace.

Why Causes a Condensate Leak?

A break in the condensate line within the furnace is one cause for puddling under the furnace. A malfunction within the condensate pump is another possible issue. The pump turns on when condensate builds up. This is an electric component with moving parts. So as furnaces age, the pump may stop working. Diagnosing and repairing internal issues should be done by a trained professional technician. During annual preventative maintenance, certified HVAC technicians ensure the system is safe and working properly. The most common cause of leaks are clogs within the drain.

How to Remove a Clog

Many homeowners can follow some basic steps to remove clogs and clean drain lines. Follow these simple steps to clear a condensate drain:

  1. Locate the end of the drain line – Many clogs are obstructions at the end of the floor drain or the exterior drain.
  2. Locate the drain pan – Some obstructions build up in the pan or the beginning of the drain line which can be cleared easily.
  3. A thin wire brush – Some biological build up may occur at the input drain. A thin wire brush can help clear sludgy material and other soft build up.
  4. Drain snake – For longer pipes and systems with multiple elbows, a drain snake may clear the condensate drain. This may be a step left to professional and experienced homeowners. A snake may do damage to the pipe and weak connections if not carefully performed.
  5. Use a wet/dry vacuum – Like a drain snake, a vacuum may free a clogged drain.
  6. Use a drain gun – If you do not own a drain gun, you are not alone. This is a specialty tool that is best suited for clearing blockages. This also provides a better cleaning method than at-home solutions.

When to Call the Professionals

Your Home Service Hero at Redman Services can quickly save you stress and frustration. Proper drainage prevents water damage to floors, walls and other property near your condensate drains. Our highly skilled HVAC technicians use state-of-the-art equipment and years of experience to repair your furnace and protect it against future issues.

The best way to prevent all furnace issues including a clogged condensate drain line is furnace maintenance. When a furnace is properly cleaned and tuned up each year, our team adjusts burners and calibrates the system to efficiently burn fuel. We test all systems and often catch problems like worn pumps and damaged drain pipes before your furnace fails.

Furnace Repairs and Maintenance with Redman Services

Redman Services responds quickly to your call. Throughout Fort Wayne, Indiana and the surrounding area, our team protects homes with heating, cooling and plumbing solutions. As soon as you detect any problem, alert our team. We have seen and repaired every issue from minor fixes like broken drain pipes and clogged condensate drain lines to more severe issues like faulty pumps and damaged secondary heat exchangers. When you call for repair, we are ready.