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There’s water in my ductwork!

April 20, 2011

Is your home on a slab or crawlspace? Have you ever found water in your duct system? If so, what have you done about it? Have you resolved the issue, or just let it be?

Rusted out plenum in slab

The problem with water in your duct system is, it can cause the metal ductwork to rust out and can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew or bacteria. If your home is on a slab and the ductwork is in the slab; chances are you have had water in your duct system one time or another. When there is water in slab ducts; most people notice little to no airflow coming out of  one or more vents; or they notice a throaty, bubbling water kind of sound. This may be a good time to have the ductwork scoped to locate the water or, if you know where the water is, you can simply rent a water pump and pump it out. How do you prevent the water from coming back? There is no guarantee that the water will not come back, but you can do some things to help the water situation. You can simply make sure the down spouts are directed away from the home. They sell extensions at the hardware store. You could have a company install a drain tile around the perimeter of the home. Or, you could abandon the air ducts and run a new duct system over head. Once you have resolved your water issues, it may be advisable to have your duct system thoroughly cleaned.

Homeowners with crawlspaces; don’t celebrate too soon! Your duct systems can get water in them as well. Especially when the furnace is located in the garage. We often find that the drain line gets plugged, and the water from the indoor evaporator coil overflows into the air duct plenum under the furnace. If this happens often and the water stays for an extended period of time; this can cause the plenum to rust out and eventually cause rust to flake off into the duct system. Once it has rusted all the way through; the pea gravel and dirt underneath may enter the duct system and the air stream. We can typically locate this issue upon arrival. Your HVAC company should be able to identify this issue when they are out for your spring maintenance. Once the problem has been identified, the drain line can be easily un-clogged and you can simply drill a 1″ opening in the bottom of the duct system to allow the water to drain out. If this is a continuous problem; you may consider leaving the 1′ opening in the bottom of the plenum so if water gets in again, it can easily drain out.

If you are interested in having your duct system inspected or scoped; give us a call! 317-733-1012 or

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