One of the most welcome features of any house or apartment is its ability to provide dry, comfortable shelter against the elements -- so you may be justifiably annoyed by unexplained drips, drops or puddles of water inside your home. This extra moisture may lead to respiratory allergies (thanks to mold growth), slip hazards and structural or cosmetic damage to your property. But your plumber has checked your pipes and found no leaks, so where is that moisture coming from? Here are some tips to help you track down and deal with the source of your water woes.
Water from the Furnace
If you see water pooling around your furnace, you have good reason to be concerned about possible corrosion or what ominous underlying issues the water might represent. The problem can range from a simple fix to an expensive furnace repair or replacement. Ask yourself these questions:
- "Do I have a high-efficiency furnace?" If you do, then condensation is part of the unit's normal operation. High-efficiency furnaces make hot exhaust, so water vapor naturally condenses instead of exiting the home as exhaust. This water should be draining through the floor, though, so have the drain and its drain line inspected.
- "Do I have a standard-efficiency furnace?" Standard-efficiency furnaces don't produce condensation unless the exhaust pipe flue is the wrong size or the exhaust pipe has developed a breach that prevents water vapor from escaping. The latter could expose your family to dangerous exhaust gases, so get this issue checked immediately.
Dripping AC Evaporator
Your home's interior air conditioning unit is equipped with a component called an evaporator drain pan. This pan is tasked with catching the water that forms when the evaporator pulls moisture out of the air (a key step in cooling your home) and then diverting the water elsewhere through a drain line. The drain line may run to the outside of the house, or in an apartment it may be routed so that it can drip into the bathtub. If your overhead AC unit seems to be leaking water, this water may be overflow from an evaporator drain pan with a clogged drain line. The water in the drain pan may also be dripping down from leaky, worn-out evaporator coils.
The good news is that a dripping evaporator drain pain can be corrected fairly easily by an air conditioning repair technician. The pan itself can be replaced if it's gotten too old and rotten to hold water. Clogged drain lines can be flushed out by attaching a shop vacuum to it; this step should also be done on a preventative basis at least once a year. Get the evaporator checked and serviced at the same time so it doesn't have a chance to corrode. Talk to a company like Affordable Plumbing & Heat.
Puddles on the Floor
One of the oddest indoor water problems takes the form of mysterious puddles of water that appear on your floor for no apparent reason. If there are no overhead water stains or other signs of water dripping down, then you can assume that the water is condensation caused by a temperature difference between the interior living area above your flooring and the concrete slab below. If it happens mainly during the springtime, then the concrete slab may be slow to warm up after a cold winter while your interior is comfortably warm, producing "sweating."
The only way to address this problem is to pull up the flooring and have a foundation expert look at the slab. If cracks are your problem, you may solve it by painting the slab with a sealant -- but this won't help if the slab lacks a vapor barrier. There are two options for adding this much-needed vapor barrier:
- Remove the entire slab, put a vapor barrier down and then pour a new slab over it
- Lay a vapor barrier over the existing slab and then pour a layer of fresh concrete on top of this assembly
That water is coming from somewhere -- and the sooner you find its source, the sooner you can rid yourself of it. Talk to your local contractors and have the necessary inspections or repairs made before moisture in your home can create problems that go beyond mere annoyance.