Saturday, August 9, 2014


I recently had a problem in my basement and wasn’t certain if I should call a heating specialist, a plumber or an exorcist.

It seemed as if every time it rained, water would come in through the furnace, run down the front of it and then form a pond on the basement floor. I figured there had to be a leak somewhere where the water was getting in, but the question was, was it a leaky pipe, a crack in the furnace or, even worse, a crack in the foundation? I had no clue. All I did know was I had to get rid of the water down there…along with the spiders doing the backstroke.

So I called one of my neighbors, who’s a plumbing/heating/cooling specialist and asked if he might be able to come over and check out my furnace. My luck, he was away on vacation. But he said he planned be back in the area for a short while on either Monday or Tuesday and would drop over then.

I waited until Thursday, then gave up and called one of the plumbing companies that heavily advertises on local TV.

“Is your problem plumbing, heating or air-conditioning?” the woman who answered asked me.

“Yes,” I said.

“No,” she said, chuckling, “you have to pick one so I can send the appropriate technician.”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, where is the water coming from?” she asked.

“The furnace.”

“Then you have forced hot-water heat?”

“No, just hot air.”

“But that means there isn’t any water going through it.”

“Oh, there’s definitely water going through it…and it’s coming out into my basement.”

“Are you sure there’s not a pipe leaking above it somewhere?” she persisted.

“I’m not sure about anything. But I think it might be rain water.”

She laughed. “Hmmm. Now I don’t know whether to send a plumber or a heating/cooling tech.”

“Just send anybody,” I said. “At least it’ll be a start.”

A guy named Josh – a heating/cooling specialist – promptly arrived. All I can say is I immediately pitied the poor guy.  I pity any repairman who has to enter my house.

I led him down to the basement (a.k.a. the chamber of horrors) and showed him where the water was coming in.  He immediately set to work checking everything.

“When’s the last time you cleaned your filter?” he asked me.

I shrugged. “I don’t remember. I have a really hard time trying to put it back in, so I try not to take it out.”

He removed the filter and, to my surprise, it was relatively clean. My dogs shed eleven months out of the year, so I’d expected it to look like a shag carpet.

Josh examined a few more things, then said, “It’s your central air-conditioning. The condensate line is really plugged. The condensation has nowhere to go, builds up and is backing up into the furnace.”

“That’s weird that the line got all plugged up,” I said. “I have a water filtration system here, and all my water is pure. There’s no gunk in it.”

In retrospect, I’m surprised he didn’t roll his eyes.

“Um, it’s not water from your well coming out of your air-conditioner, it’s water from the air – condensation. So it’s not going through your filtering system.”

I felt pretty dumb at that moment.

Anyway, he installed a bigger line to prevent future clogs, and this one, unlike the old one, is see-through.

“Now you’ll actually be able to see if there’s a clog,” he said. “And if you do see one, just flip these open (he opened what looked like two little trap doors) and stick this brush down in there and clean it out.” He held up a miniature version of something that resembled what a chimney-sweep might use. “You shouldn’t have any problems from now on that you can’t handle yourself.”

“You really don’t know me at all, do you?” I just had to say.

He showed me the old line he’d removed, which had what looked like a blob of chocolate pudding in it. I had no clue how it got in there, but if, as he said, the only water that went through that line was from the air, then I figured I probably should start wearing a protective face mask whenever I go outside.

He turned on the air-conditioner and tested the pressure. Everything checked out fine.

“Anything else you need while I’m here?” he asked.

The poor guy should have known better than to ask me that. I ended up having him check everything from my propane line to my generator. I honestly can say he was one of the most patient repairmen I’ve ever met. Even when he tried to pat my dog, Raven, and she nearly removed a couple of his fingers (Raven hates men), he still smiled and was pleasant.

My bill came to $265, but I think it was worth it. I mean, there’s no more water on my basement floor, and if the line ever clogs up again, I can take care of it myself.

I think.









  1. If you’re not quite sure about the problem your house might have, it’s better to have it checked by the professionals. There are certain things they can see that might look normal to an ordinary homeowners. At the very least, you’d be free from all the worries about some difficulties. So, how are things doing now?

    Tommy Hopkins @ AccuTemp

    1. Everything is still doing fine - knock on wood! No more problems.

  2. It’s a good thing that she sent a heating and cooling specialist, otherwise a plumber would probably be of little help and recommend you to one eventually. Anyway, your bill was quite pricey, but since he fixed that horrifying problem, makes the cost worth it. Thanks for sharing this with us, Sally. Take care!

    Henrietta Fuller @ Bri-Tech Heating and Cooling

  3. You're lucky that the HVAC company you sought for was perfect. The fact that they have great communication skills, and that they have a really good heating/cooling specialist is just totally superb. I'm glad that the problem on your basement has already been resolved. In any way, thanks for sharing that, Sally! All the best to you!

    Laverne Weaver @ Carter Heating and Air

  4. Being a singe female home owner, I always do a little research on the problem at hand. When I found my furnace surrounded in a puddle of water, the first thing I did was look up the model. I also researched forums for similar problems and how others fixed the problem. In doing so, I saved a lot of time and money.

    Rosa Nelson @ HVAC Services Philadelphia