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fraise 10-14-2013 10:24 PM

Furnace issues - water and screeching
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Hello! First off I'd like to say thanks for being interested and any and all help is greatly appreciated.

So.. Let's kick things off:

The furnace was replaced maybe 10 years ago give or take and for the past 6-8 years it has been leaking water from up above. It's a slow and steady drip which seems to come/go as the furnace kicks on/off. Mind you, it's only while the heat is on.

Secondly - after continuous "on" use for about a month or 2 brings a strange and deafening "screech." That has been going on for oh.. maybe 4 years? It's high pitched and varies in the screeching but usually dissipates after about 3 minutes during a cycle when the furnace kicks on. It doesn't happen every time the furnace kicks on, but it is like nails on a chalkboard - slowly driving me insane.

I have pictures of where the water is leaking, but I don't know what it's called or even how to describe it. In the first picture I've circled where water eventually drips off. My best guess is it's coming from the top or where the pipe connects? It's quite rusty looking but couldn't get a closer top view. Don't know what that crusty looking white gunk is either but assuming it is from the water dripping.

bob22 10-15-2013 07:39 AM

Can you get a wider view shot?
It looks like exhaust is pitched down going into the up pipe?
What kind of furnace? Gas, oil, high efficiency?

beenthere 10-15-2013 05:15 PM

If gas furnace. it could be that the gas pressure to the gas valve is low.

FClef 10-16-2013 04:30 PM

Are those pictures upside down? Please post pictures that give a wider view of the problem area.

Is this a hot air furnace or a hot water boiler?

Is this gas or oil?

Do you know if your chimney has a stainless steel liner in it or does it have a terracotta brick liner or if it is just brick?

Is your chimney an inside chimney (goes up through the house) or is it an outside chimney?

How high is the chimney?

I have a few ideas as to what it may be. I have seen this type of thing happen when a chimney is too big for the high efficiency of "modern" heaters. What happens is you could be getting condensation inside of your chimney because the lower temperatures of the flue gasses are not enough to warm the chimney sufficiently to prevent condensation. I have actually seen condensation running out of chimneys and causing water on the floor. I am willing to bet that where the vent pipe terminates into your chimney that you have water streaks there if condensation is the problem. The fact that you only notice the dripping when the furnace runs also lends itself to condensation being the problem.

If your chimney is too big and outside and does not have a stainless steel liner then I would say that is your problem. There could be other causes, but this is the most common one I have seen. The way to fix it is to get the chimney lined with a properly sized stainless steel liner. When the work is done, just make sure that they only put a liner down there, it is unnecessary to pour any insulating material around it. What you want is a chimney that heats up quickly and cools down quickly, that is what is going to minimize any possible condensation. Condensation can take place with a gas or oil heater, it does not matter.

EDITED TO ADD: The screeching problem could be many different things. If this is a warm air furnace you could have a fan bearing that is going bad. If it is oil, you could have a bad oil pump coupling or a bad oil pump. If it is hot water, you could have a bad circulator motor or a bad bearing assembly for the circulator. When exactly do you hear this noise?

Hope this helps.

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