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York Furnace Leaking Water? 5 Common Causes (+ Fixes)

York furnaces are known for their quality. However, they can leak water due to neglected maintenance. If that happens, you need to quickly identify the problem and fix it before it causes any long-term damage to your home.

Your York furnace is leaking water due to a clogged condensate line, issues with the pump, or a faulty heat exchanger. You can stop the leak by cleaning the condensate line, ensuring the condensate pump is working properly, and replacing the heat exchanger.

While discovering a puddle of water around your furnace is always cause for concern, the fixes are actually quite easy. Let’s look at the most common problems that can cause a leak around your York furnace.

Clogged Condensate Line

If you have a clogged line in your York furnace, odds are the leak you’re seeing has come from the undrained condensate. A quick clean-out should get your furnace back on track. 

There are a few different ways to clean the condensate line of your York furnace:

  • Shop-vac. With powerful suction and wet/dry versatility, a shop vac fitted with an adapter to match your furnace’s condensate line will suck out anything lodged within the system. 
  • Compressed air. A can of compressed air provides a short but powerful burst of air that dislodges debris. 
  • Compressor attachment. If you have an air compressor lying around, use the Viair Blow Gun (Amazon.com) attachment to flush the line with a more powerful blast of air for stubborn build-up. 
  • Garden hose. Fitted with a proper adapter, a garden hose can efficiently flush any mold, insects, or debris that have found their way into your line.  

Remember to put water back in the line after flushing it out to maintain the trap. Without a trapped air system, efficiency will decrease, and potential air quality issues can pop up. 

Watch the following video of an HVAC tech cutting an access point into the PVC line to clean out a clogged line with compressed air and then patching the access point to prevent further leaking:

Issue With Condensate Pump

Condensate pumps are necessary when gravity can’t do the job because the drain line is too long or is installed upside down.

Float Switch

A rigid or broken float switch will prevent the condensate pump’s motor from running. Here’s how you can fix this:

  1. Turn off the power to the pump. 
  2. Remove the pump housing.
  3. Manually check to see if it’s seized or broken.
  4. Replace if necessary.

Cracked Reservoir

A cracked reservoir can cause condensate leaks. Here’s how you can check for and fix this issue:

  1. Turn off power to the pump. 
  2. Disconnect the drain tube and let the water drain out. 
  3. Pour some water into the reservoir and watch for leaks. 
  4. Patch or replace any holes. 

Blocked or Faulty Check Valve

The check valve on a condensate pump can become blocked, keeping condensate liquids from draining out of the reservoir:

  1. Turn off power to the pump.
  2. Disconnect the drain tube and let the water drain out.
  3. Unscrew your check valve.
  4. Use compressed air to release any debris from the check valve. 
  5. Reassemble.

If you’ve exhausted all of these methods and the furnace is still leaking, it’s best to replace the pump, as it may be broken beyond repair. 

Cracked or Faulty Drain Pan

In 2009, York began making clear plastic drain pans for ease of view for maintenance technicians. While this made identifying problems more effortless, it also caused a much bigger problem.

York was forced to issue a massive recall after several furnaces had cracked drain pans that leaked condensate liquid into the furnace, causing the furnace’s interior to rust. A black crack-resistant polymer drain pan was issued to replace it.

If your York furnace model year is earlier than 2015 and you have a clear plastic drain pan, look into getting it replaced.

If you’re sure that your drain pan isn’t the clear one, it might still have a crack or hole causing the leak. If you find any damage on your drain pan, use water-safe tapes like this Gorilla Brand Patch and Seal Tape (Amazon.com). It’ll flex form to the housing, which can be easier than removing and replacing the entire drain pan. 

Faulty Heat Exchanger

Heat exchangers move heated gases from the combustion chamber to the exhaust pipe through metal tubes or coils. The air around these tubes and coils is what enters the ductwork to keep your house warm.

Primary Heat Exchanger

If you have a conventional or standard-efficiency furnace, it only has one heat exchanger; high-efficiency furnaces have two. Here’s how to determine if your primary heat exchange is having issues:

  • Do you notice any strange smells? While it isn’t wise to go around sniffing exhaust fumes, a faulty heat exchanger produces a prominent odor.
  • Look for soot around the burners. Soot indicates that the flame is being dispersed because of cracks in the chamber’s unit or debris.
  • Look for visible chips and cracks. This may not always be possible from the outside, in which case you should get an USB Snake Inspection Camera  (Amazon.com). Use it to peek inside your heat exchange for any internal damage.

Secondary Heat Exchanger

High-efficiency furnaces have a secondary heat exchanger. This process releases more heat from the combustion gases. Water vapor is created, hence the name “condensing furnaces.” 

  • First, check the primary heat exchanger. Similar issues can occur in both heat exchangers. 
  • Clean the coils or turbulators. Since they’re close to the blower, secondary heat exchanger elements are exposed to any debris.

Final Thoughts

You have now gleaned the knowledge to fix your leaking York furnace. Remember, it’s always a good idea to contact an HVAC professional if you have any hesitation. 

They’ll assist you in identifying and fixing each issue mentioned in this article, along with a plethora of other less common causes.