Preventing Winter Water Damage To Your Furnace


Exposure to water is potentially damaging to gas-fired furnace components including internal valves, burners, as well as electronic boards that control the system. For this reason, a furnace contacted by water is often declared a safety hazard and must be replaced.

To help prevent winter water damage to your furnace, keep these common issues in mind:

  • Prevent frozen pipes. During frigid winter weather, water gushing from a water supply pipe that has ruptured due to freezing often floods the basement where the furnace is installed. Insulate vulnerable spans of pipe and close any openings that allow cold outdoor air to infiltrate into areas of the house where pipes are routed. If a hard freeze is forecast, turn on household faucets and allow them to trickle overnight.
  • Manage melting snow. A deep snow bank accumulated next to the house may seep water into basement walls below as it melts. Basement contents including the furnace can be damaged. Landscape around the house perimeter should be graded to divert snowmelt away from the foundation. Where possible, shovel or blow deep snow away from the house before it melts.Installation of a sump pump helps avert repeated basement floods.
  • Keep condensate flowing. High-efficiency residential furnaces with AFUE ratings above 90 produce gallons of liquid condensate, usually discharged outside the house through a drain pipe. Under frigid conditions, the drain pipe may freeze and obstruct flow. Blocked condensate backing up into the furnace will overflow and shut down the furnace, potentially damaging components and/or the interior area where the unit is installed. If condensate freezes occur, contact a qualified HVAC contractor to relocate and/or insulate the drain line.

For prevention techniques and professional recovery services if winter water damage strikes, contact Rytech, Inc.


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