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When natural gas or propane burns, water vapor is given off within the flu gasses so a bit of condensation in, off and around the flu discharge is quite normal. If it is a high efficiency furnace with the pvc flu pipe, they must be pitched properly BACK TO the furnace so the moisture will drain backwards and out a drain tap at the bottom of the riser. That style of furnace will have TWO drains...one up high for the air conditioner coil and one about 16" up from the bottom of the furnace off of the 'condensing coil' that the flue gasses pass through to extract a much greater amount of heat from the burned gas.
Many flu pipes are installed incorrectly which causes water to drip outside instead of back to the furnace and this usually results in huge icicles hanging off of them in the winter and eventually the partial blockage causes the flu's pressure switch to open.
If you have regular galvanized flu pipe, you have less than a 90% high efficiency furnace and the resultant flu gas temperature is much higher with a much greater quantity of water vapor in it. A little condensation is somewhat normal on the top of the flu cap as the hot moisture laden vapor comes in contact with the cold and dry outside air. If the moisture is all over the galvanized flu pipe in the basement, you are possibly venting into an oversized and unlined masonry chimney. IF that's the case, the chimney should really be lined with a flexible liner and properly connected to the furnace and water heater (if gas fired) with the proper connections and configuration.
Two stage hot air furnaces can save you money and make your high efficiency furnace even better. With your furnace running at low fire instead of cranking up to the highest heating output in mild weather you can be more comfortable while saving money.
Many people think that they are getting the best they can get by buying a high efficiency single stage furnace. What they often don’t realize is that they could do better yet and for a few dollars more have a high efficiency 2 stage furnace that could keep them much more comfortable.
There are 2 stage hot air furnaces that are now available that will only run at half fire if the full fire is not needed. With a two stage furnace in mild weather when only a little bit of heat is needed, the furnace will have longer run times on low fire. This will keep you room temperatures from getting too hot before the thermostat reacts and shuts the furnace off again. This will help to keep your temperatures from overshooting the set point and help to keep your home much more comfortable.
Many of these two stage furnaces also have variable speed blowers that run at a lower speed when heating on low fire. This will also help to save money on your electric bill, because these blowers use very little electric when running at these low speeds. Air noise from the blower running at a high speed is also reduced.
If you are thinking of replacing or installing a hot air furnace, make sure that you ask your contractor to give you a price on installing a two stage furnace. The price difference probably will not be much higher than a high efficiency single stage furnace. However the comfort of the two stage furnace coupled with the electric savings will make the extra money well worth it.
You don't indicate whether it is a gas or an electric furnace, so its somewhat difficult to give other than a generic answer. First and foremost, you have to make sure the furnace is working to its utmost efficiency. If it is an electric furnace, one or more of the individual heating elements could be not functioning correctly, lowering the furnace total output which in turn has to run longer to produce the amount of heat required to satisfy the thermostat setpoint. Of course, the lower the outdoor temp, the longer the furnace has to run to maintain the indoor temp setpoint because the loss of heat is greater with the lower temperatures.
If it's a gas furnace, its either working or not, but there are some cases where the gas control refuses to pass full flow of gas. This is a very rare situation, and I doubt that is what is happening. Either furnace needs to have a clean filter to maximize its output.
Check around doors for leaking door gaskets or leaking threshhold gaskets. Check around the windows for air leakage. If you have a gas furnace and its not a high efficiency unit that draws air from the outside from the second of two pvc pipes, the furnace has to draw
'combustion air' from within the house. That air mixes with the gas, then escapes the house up the flu. The result is that that air has to be replaced, so the slightly negative air pressure INSIDE you house is replenished by outside air seeping in cracks and crevases around doors and windows.
Its a law of physics, pressure will flow from high to low and when this happens, you may feel a draft around the windows. You can't totally seal the house as a certain amount of fresh air is required for a healthy environment, but excess leakage needs to be eliminated.
If your Utica is a high efficiency 90+ condensing furnace, I suspect not too much is wrong. A condensing furnace removes so much latent heat from the burned fuel that it condenses the moisture out of the flu-gases. The result is a very low flu temperature, AND water.
The water must be flowing correctly down the proper drain though, or you could suffer damage to the furnace itself. If there is an 'overflow' pipe and it is running over though, the drain downstream must have an obstruction. Clean the drain out and the overflow situation should go away.
If you are looking for a high efficiency furnace with
up to 96% efficiency then Amana AMH95 forced air gas furnace is a
considerable furnace for you home heating requirements. - See more at: http://www.cleanairheat.ca/amana-amh95-gas-furnace.php#sthash.FeFfEH9f.dpuf
The electronic ignition system in a gas furnace is a modern development that
allows more reliable performance than standing pilot furnaces, provides energy savings and contributes to better furnace efficiency (AFUE). With a standing pilot, found most commonly on older low
efficiency furnaces (55% to 65% AFUE is not uncommon), a small gas flame is
always burning and is known in the lexicon of American home repair as a "pilot
light". The problem with this type of "analog" ignition is that it wastes energy
by constantly burning gas and can sometimes be unreliable.
These issues have led to the development of electronic ignition
systems for mid to high efficiency furnaces that exceed the U.S. government's
established minimum AFUE rating of 78%. The electronic ignition occurs typically
in one of two ways:
Intermittent Pilot, or
Hot Surface Ignition
The intermittent pilot system uses an electronically controlled high
voltage electrical spark to ignite the gas pilot and then subsequently the main
burners, when the thermostat
calls for heat.
The hot surface ignition system uses an electronically controlled
resistance heating element not unlike a light bulb filament (and shown in the
photo above), to ignite the gas burner.
It is important to understand some of the other components of a modern
furnace that you will encounter depending on the type of high efficiency furnace
you have. Why? Because they can also come into play in repairing an electronic
ignition furnace when it won't run properly. Let's take a quick review of the
types of furnace designs and components found in high efficiency furnaces using
Maintaining the lowest acceptable setting and leaving it at that temperature is the most economical way to run the unit. If the space is going to be unoccupied for an extended time (several hours), lower temperatures are okay. This minimizes the need to burst the heat to warm the space quicker. As I understand your unit, it minimizes electrical & gas consumption by basing the need on the temperature difference of actual space temperature and setpoint. The larger the gap, the more power and gas is consumed.
In summary, when the space is occupied, maintain a consistent temperature setting. When the space is unoccupied, maintain a lower setpoint.
Your furnace is more than 90% efficient and extracting so much heat from the gas that it condenses instead of blowing out steam. This is good! Figure that for every dollar you spend on fuel, you are getting back 90+ cents back in heat. Compare that to the typical units that only get 70 - 80 cents back in heat. Yes you should drain your condensate to a proper drain via gravity or a condensation pump. I would recommend you treat the condensate first with a acid neutralizer prior to draining in municipal drains due to it's high content of sulfuric acid. You can purchase these filter type neutralizers on the net or at a good heating wholesaler.