What I'm Seeing Now


"It Leaked All Summer. Now It Has Stopped." Another HVAC Mystery!

One year inspections are fun because I ask if there are any things in particular the client wants me to look at.

Often I get a response like this:  "Until recently there was a puddle on the floor of the furnace room.  It leaked all summer.  Now it has stopped."

When I hear that I am pretty sure the leaking has to do with AC condensation, for some reason.  And now that the AC isn't operating the mysterious leaking has stopped.

But I go look anyway!

When I entered the furnace room and saw this I was not surprised.

Overhead is the main HVAC supply duct for the main level.

Off of this runs each of the individual, smaller duct tubes that service the various rooms of the main and basement levels.

The unit is to the left.

It is the horizontal duct in the center of the photo that interested me.

That is the main exhaust leaving the furnace, for heat and AC.

Notice the angle!

When things are running well the AC air coming out of the unit is around 45 - 50F.  That's pretty cold air!

It is so cold as compared to the air in the room that condensation will surely result.

Ideally the condensation is contained inside the unit, or directed there for discharge elsewhere.

In this case the angle of the duct is directing some of that condensation away from the unit, and toward that curved section of the duct.

It would sit there, except for one thing.

See the teensy hole?

That's in that "painted" joint!  It's also a low point!

That joint is painted with a latex duct product intended to seal small gaps in the metal duct work.

It"s pretty good stuff!  But not when there's a hole, or when a hole opens up!

Surely, all summer, that hole leaked, dripping water onto the floor of the room.

A lot of water?  Probably not.  But a puddle resulted every time the system ran for a while.

That they never noticed the dripping surprised me!  I asked, and they had not!

My recommendation:  when your unit is doing something odd during a particular season, there is probably a reason related to that season!  Maintenance requires a couple of things.  First, listen to your unit.  If it starts sounding differently call a professional.  Second, watch your unit operate.  If it does different things (like in this case water dripping from a hole that opened up) call a professional.  BUT IF YOU WANT A PROBLEM INVESTIGATED BY AN OBJECTIVE PROFESSIONAL - CALL A HOME INSPECTOR!  He might just be able to diagnose the problem!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 40 commentsJay Markanich • November 29 2013 03:55AM
"It Leaked All Summer. Now It Has Stopped. " Another HVAC…
One year inspections are fun because I ask if there are any things in particular the client wants me to look at. Often I get a response like this: "Until recently there was a puddle on the floor of the furnace room. It leaked all summer… more
Decidedly NOT A Thanksgiving Bird!
I don't know what it is with me and weird bird findings lately, but this is decidedly NOT a Thanksgiving bird! Opening the furnace cover to look inside I saw what appeared to be a lot of piles of dirt! This house, and unit, are only 10… more
A Different Kind Of Majesty At Church
Driving through Woodbridge VA, though not near the Potomac River, I looked off in the distance to see a very large bird on a church steeple across the road. I could see it was a large bird. Was it what I thought it was? Pulling… more
… Where You Can Check Out, But You Can Never Leave..
Pulling into the driveway I could not help but notice that the neighborhood looked like a Hitchcock movie scene. There were crows everywhere! On the roofs, in the trees, walking around in the yards and road. And not a few! Well over 100! … more
I Was Called To Figure Out A Single HVAC Problem The Builder Could Not
This happens now and then - I was called to figure out a single HVAC problem the builder could not. It's the end of the AC season. The builder suggested this homeowner call somebody to determine what the problem is so they can fix it… more
"Your Inspector Is Wrong. I Was In The House And Saw No Termites…
All along the only two exterior rim joists we could see in an unfinished basement room I saw termite tunnels. Many of them. The lot is dark and wooded and the basement is completely subterranean. When my client's Realtor called the other… more
I Find That One Electrical Problem Leads To Others - It Did Here
Whenever I read or hear that there has been substantial remodeling done on a home, I find that one electrical problem leads to others - it did here. Often it has been done by a homeowner. Often it has been done without a permit. Often it has… more
This Is Deadly Air Being Drawn Into The House - In Northern Virginia?
There'e no other way to say it - this is deadly air in being drawn back into the house - in Northern Virginia? Say it ain't so! Well it is. A high-efficiency condensing gas furnace is a wonderful and extremely efficient appliance. … more
Nothing About This Staircase Meets Code - What Does The Inspector Do?
Nothing about this staircase meets code - what does the inspector do? But wait! It is beautiful! It is a work of art! It is placed with architectural and landscaping purpose! It is one of three such renderings on the… more
What Did I Spy With My Little Eye? A Mobile Home In Northern Virginia
This mobile home in Northern Virginia was a mess from top to bottom. Perusing the outside of this mobile home I stumbled across this interesting hole. It is poorly insulated. It is exposed to the weather. It is shiny and… more