The return of cold temperatures boosts your dependence on home heating equipment each fall. If your furnace isn’t operating properly, it may develop into a fire hazard and threaten your family’s safety.
As stated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating systems are a major source of home fires, contributing to approximately 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 involving heating equipment, but central heaters, including furnaces, are liable for just about 12% of these blazes. Learn the primary causes of furnace fires and how to minimize them.
Aging furnaces are more susceptible to safety hazards since they could be configured differently and fall into disrepair through 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 various ways. Here are the main risks:
Yard waste, animal nests and other obstructions can block the furnace flue, lowering oxygen. This leads to soot building up 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 within your furnace. If this problem remains, your heating equipment can be severely damaged, and the fire may even 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 through your home. A heat exchanger clogged up with soot or corrosion has the same result as a blocked furnace flue—reduced performance and a higher risk of flame rollout.
Several problems can happen if corrosion breaks the heat exchanger. First, it lowers suction within this chamber, triggering less airflow and increased flame rollout. Second, it emits fumes, including carbon monoxide, into your home. Inhaling CO gas can be fatal, so never dismiss your carbon monoxide alarms. CO gas can also flash back to the source of the leak and ignite if a flame is present.
Furnaces need 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 in 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 fixing a problem with your furnace? Whatever is happening, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here for you. Our HVAC pros 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, 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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