The return of cold temperatures boosts your dependence on home heating equipment each fall. If your furnace isn’t operating properly, it could grow to be a fire hazard and jeopardize your family’s safety.
As stated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating systems are a top factor of home fires, leading to almost 50,000 blazes, 500 civilian deaths and more than $1 billion in significant property damage each year. Space heaters and fireplaces cause most of the fires concerning heating equipment, but central heaters, like furnaces, are responsible for just about 12% of these blazes. Learn more about the primary causes of furnace fires and how to avoid them.
Older furnaces are more exposed to safety problems as they might be designed differently and slide into disrepair over the years. Nevertheless, whether your furnace is more than a decade old or brand new, you should know about these causes of furnace fires.
A furnace motor can overheat in several ways. Here are the biggest risks:
Yard waste, animal nests and other materials can obstruct the furnace flue, lowering oxygen. This results in soot building up and improper ventilation, limiting efficiency and increasing the risk of flame rollout. Flame rollout is when fire reaches past the heat exchanger and burns the parts inside your furnace. If this problem remains, your heating equipment could be seriously damaged, and the fire can spread to areas outside the furnace.
The heat exchanger is a closed combustion chamber where the heat created by your furnace is exchanged to the air circulating through your home. A heat exchanger clogged up with soot or corrosion has the same result as a blocked furnace flue—reduced performance and an increased risk of flame rollout.
Several problems can happen if corrosion breaks the heat exchanger. First, it affects suction within this chamber, leading to less airflow and increased flame rollout. Second, it emits fumes, such as carbon monoxide, into your home. Inhaling CO gas can be fatal, so never ignore your carbon monoxide alarms. CO gas can also flash back to the source of the leak and ignite if a flame is present.
Furnaces depend on an exact mixture of natural gas and air to generate safe and efficient combustion. Too little pressure is often because of clogged burner orifices. This problem makes the burner flames more likely to roll out. It also produces unwanted condensation in the heat exchanger, increasing the rate of corrosion.
On the other hand, high gas pressure can produce excessive heat in the furnace, which can cause the soot inside the heat exchanger to ignite. Such fires can readily spread to other areas.
Based on the different ways a furnace can catch fire, here are the steps you can take to prevent furnace fires:
Is it time for your annual tune-up? Do you need help taking care of a problem with your furnace? Whatever the reason, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here for you. Our HVAC professionals can inspect, clean and test the system to guarantee safe operation. If anything looks out of place, we’ll suggest a repair or a modification, providing you peace of mind that your furnace is unlikely to catch fire. For more details or to schedule furnace maintenance, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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