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3 Potentially Hazardous Heater Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

Gas furnaces have the advantages of lots of power and an affordable fuel source. That being said, they also require inspections and maintenance to ensure that they’re running both safely and efficiently. Our heating experts want to make sure you’re aware of potential issues with your heater that can “start small” but turn into much more severe problems.

These are three gas furnace issues that should always be taken care of as soon as you discover the problem.

1. Delayed Ignition

If you hear a bang from your furnace when it starts up, then it probably has an issue with delayed ignition. When everything is working correctly, your furnace supplies gas to the burners, and they light up right away. When something prevents the burners from immediately lighting, the gas builds up inside your furnace. When it finally ignites, it makes that bang--which is actually a small explosion.

First, a buildup of flammable gas is never good and can present a major hazard if the gas were to leak out. Second, those continued booms inside your furnace can damage the internal components. If your furnace has delayed ignition, don’t wait to call an HVAC technician to get to the root of the issue.

2. A Problem With the Flame Sensor or Thermocouple

Newer furnaces have a flame sensor, while older furnaces with a standing pilot light have a thermocouple. The flame sensor and thermocouple are both safety devices and perform a very similar job. If a furnace is getting gas but not igniting, the flame sensor or thermocouple is supposed to shut off the gas supply to the furnace to stop the gas from building up.

If this safety device inside your furnace is faulty, it can prevent your furnace from igniting. Conversely, it can also allow gas to fill up inside your furnace. In either case, this is not a DIY job, so you will need to contact a professional to repair or replace the component.

3. A Cracked Heat Exchanger

You don’t want your home’s “breathing air” mixing with the gas and byproducts your furnace creates during the heating process. This is why your furnace’s heat exchanger is so essential. The heat exchanger transfers the heat produced in the furnace’s combustion chamber to your home’s indoor air, all the while keeping those two “sides” separate. This ensures that the warm air blowing into your home will be safe to breathe.

Because heat exchangers are made of metal, they expand and contract as they heat up and cool down. They can also be susceptible to corrosion. These factors can make your heat exchanger brittle and cause cracks to form. These cracks allow harmful combustion products (like carbon monoxide) to mix with your breathing air. Even if the concentrations are not high enough to be deadly, exposure to carbon monoxide can negatively affect your short and long-term health.

Learn more: How Cracked Heat Exchangers Can Lead to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

At Monarch Home Services, we provide high-quality heater services throughout Bakersfield, Fresno, and Visalia to help make your home safer and more energy-efficient: (800) 830-9054.

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