Water intrusion is a common problem that can have devastating effects on your home. The resulting water damage can cost thousands of dollars or more to repair, plus there's the potential for mold and mildew growth that can affect your home's indoor air quality.
In many cases, your HVAC system can be at the heart of a water-intrusion problem. The following talks about how this occurs, the methods your contractor uses to locate problem areas, and what can be done to solve the problem for good.
The Role Your HVAC System Plays
For starters, the HVAC system itself generates water as it condenses latent moisture out of the air during the cooling process. High-efficiency condensing furnaces that are a part of the HVAC system also generate excess water as they wring every bit of energy out of the combustion process. A clogged-up drain or a backed-up or damaged condensate tray can allow water to spill out of the HVAC system and into other nearby areas.
Most homes and HVAC systems are carefully designed to have neutral or slightly positive air pressure to prevent issues such as furnace backdrafting and poor ventilation. If too much air leaves the home without a balanced source of incoming air, this can create negative air pressure that allows water to seep through exterior walls, foundations, and windows, just to name a few vulnerable spots.
A Look at Water Intrusion in a Different Light
In addition to more traditional methods of investigating water intrusion, your contractor may also use the latest in infrared technology to detect pockets of water intrusion that are difficult to find with the naked eye. IR cameras create thermographic images that allow viewers to detect minute temperature differences. IR cameras can help contractors spot wet areas in walls, insulation, and other materials, especially in otherwise inaccessible areas such as crawlspaces and ductwork.
Measures You Can Take to Prevent Water Damage
There are several approaches your contractor can take to mitigate water intrusion, depending on the severity of the problem and its source. For water-intrusion issues limited to the HVAC system itself, your contractor will inspect, clean, and repair the condensate drainage system, including the drain pan and drainage lines. Your contractor may clean the evaporator to prevent mold, algae, and other debris from clogging the system in the future.
Water-intrusion issues caused by home air pressure and ventilation issues may require a thorough assessment of your home's HVAC system, including the heating and cooling ductwork.