The return of cold temperatures increases your dependence on home heating equipment every fall. If your furnace isn’t working properly, it might develop into a fire hazard and endanger your family’s safety.
As stated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating systems are a top factor of home fires, contributing to nearly 50,000 blazes, 500 civilian deaths and more than $1 billion in direct property damage every year. Space heaters and fireplaces generate most of the fires affecting heating equipment, but central heaters, like furnaces, are liable for around 12% of these blazes. Learn more about the most likely causes of furnace fires and how to prevent them.
Older furnaces are more exposed to safety problems because they might be configured differently and settle into disrepair through the years. Nevertheless, whether your furnace is more than a decade old or brand new, you should be aware of these causes of furnace fires.
A furnace motor can overheat in different ways. Here are the main risks:
Yard debris, animal nests and other obstructions can obstruct the furnace flue, reducing oxygen. This results in soot buildup and weaker ventilation, decreasing efficiency and raising the risk of flame rollout. Flame rollout is when fire gets out of the heat exchanger and burns the parts inside your furnace. If this problem remains, your heating equipment can be badly damaged, and the fire can spread to areas outside the furnace.
The heat exchanger is a restricted combustion chamber where the heat generated by your furnace transfers to the air circulating throughout your home. A heat exchanger blocked with soot or corrosion has the same effect as a blocked furnace flue—reduced performance and an increased risk of flame rollout.
Numerous problems can happen if corrosion damages the heat exchanger. First, it lowers suction in this chamber, triggering less airflow and increased flame rollout. Second, it produces fumes, such as carbon monoxide, into your home. Breathing CO gas can be deadly, so never neglect your carbon monoxide alarms. CO gas can also return to the source of the leak and ignite if a flame is lit.
Furnaces need a precise combination of natural gas and air to produce 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 leads to unwanted condensation inside the heat exchanger, accelerating the rate of corrosion.
Conversely, high gas pressure can lead to excessive heat within 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 light on fire, here are the steps you can take to prevent furnace fires:
Is it time for your annual tune-up? Do you need help resolving a problem with your furnace? Whatever the case, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here for you. Our HVAC professionals can inspect, clean and test the system to ensure safe operation. If anything doesn’t seem right, we’ll perform a repair or a modification, offering 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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