The return of cooler temperatures boosts your dependency on home heating equipment in the fall. If your furnace isn’t functioning correctly, it might grow to be a fire hazard and threaten your family’s safety.
As reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating systems like furnaces are a leading factor of home fires, causing almost 50,000 blazes, 500 civilian deaths and more than $1 billion in significant property damage annually. Space heaters and fireplaces generate the majority of fires affecting heating equipment, but central heaters, such as furnaces, are responsible for about 12% of these blazes. Find out more about the most likely causes of furnace fires and how to prevent them.
Old furnaces are more susceptible to safety hazards because they might be manufactured differently and fall into disrepair through the years. That being said, 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 different ways. Here are the most common risks:
Yard debris, animal nests and other materials can block the furnace flue, reducing oxygen. This leads to soot buildup and improper ventilation, lowering efficiency and raising the risk of flame rollout. Flame rollout is when fire gets out of the heat exchanger and burns the parts within your furnace. If this problem continues, your heating equipment could be badly 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 moved to the air circulating within your home. A heat exchanger clogged with soot or corrosion has the same impact as a blocked furnace flue—reduced performance and an increased risk of flame rollout.
Various problems can take place if corrosion damages the heat exchanger. First, it reduces suction in this chamber, leading to less airflow and increased flame rollout. Second, it emits fumes, such as carbon monoxide, into your home. Breathing CO gas can be lethal, so never dismiss your carbon monoxide alarms. CO gas can also return to the source of the leak and ignite if a flame is present.
Furnaces require an exact mixture of natural gas and air to ensure 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 within the heat exchanger, increasing the rate of corrosion.
Conversely, high gas pressure can produce excessive heat inside the furnace, which can cause the soot inside the heat exchanger to ignite. Such fires can readily spread to other areas.
Based on the various ways a furnace can catch fire, here are the steps you can take to prevent furnace fires:
Is it time for your yearly tune-up? Do you need help taking care of a problem with your furnace? Whatever the case, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here for you. Our HVAC pros can inspect, clean and test the system to provide safe operation. If anything looks out of place, we’ll suggest a repair or a modification, giving 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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