Each heating season we hear horror stories of unsafe situations caused by failing furnaces and cracked heat exchangers. The dangers are real but preventable. Your natural gas furnace is designed to have the appropriate safety switches and settings to provide your home with SAFE heating. All too often we hear from customers who have never had their heating system checked or opt out of preventative maintenance. Learn more about the necessary steps you should take to keep your home comfortable and safe when the time comes to turn on the heat.
Let's Talk Safety
Don't panic! While your system uses natural gas, furnaces are designed to be safe with a variety of safety switches and shut offs. What does this mean? When you set your thermostat to heat, it sends notification to your furnace to ignite and open the gas valve. The burners ignite and you should see a blue flame. Viola! Your home will be warm and cozy in no time, with safeties in place to keep your mind at ease if something goes awry.
When something malfunctions, the good news is that there are multiple safety switches that all must be in place and functional, in order for the system to turn on. What happens if these are good, but the pilot light is out? Your furnace also has a sensor that detects if the pilot light is indeed lit before sending gas to the ignite the burners. If your pilot light is out, the system will automatically turn off.
Another safety that protects you and your home is the roll out switch. This safety is put in place, near your burners, to sense excessive heat and flames that are outside the combustion chamber. It is possible for the flames to "roll backward" from the intended direction. Your roll out switch shuts down the system in the event this occurs.
You may have heard the warnings about cracked heat exchangers that can emit dangerous carbon monoxide gas. While serious, your furnace does have a safety in place to help prevent your heat exchanger from overheating. A limit switch prevents the heat exchanger from overheating from other malfunctions, such as a broken blower fan.
Perhaps the most effective safety in keeping your home and family safe is performing regular, preventative maintenance. Your technician will provide you with a heating tune up that inspects your system inside and out. Your furnace tune up should always include a heat exchanger inspection to assure that there are now cracks that can potentially leak combustible gases into your home.
What if Your Have Cracked Heat Exchanger?
When you're told that your heat exchanger is cracked, exhaust gases can leak into the air instead of entirely into the flue pipe. The most hazardous of these gases is Carbon Monoxide. For this reason it is a must for you to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. There is only one way to repair a cracked heat exchanger, and that involves either replacing the heat exchanger or the whole furnace itself. Dependant on the age of your furnace, can help you decide which options is best for you.
Untrustworthy HVAC Technician Beware - No Strong Arm Sales Here!
Be warned….a cracked heat exchanger diagnosis is often common for untrustworthy companies during the heating season. Do your research when hiring a HVAC company. Make sure that your company certifies its technicians to properly diagnose a cracked heat exchanger. Find out what what method was used to diagnose your system. Heating season is when some companies push customers for furnace replacement with a wrong diagnosis. If you have unsettling feelings, ask to see the crack yourself. Even if it means crawling into the furnace along side your technician. A reputable and honest company will have no problem providing you proof of the diagnosis. Any desperate,strong arm, sales should be avoided at all costs.
Get Your Furnace Tuned Up… It's a Must
While gas furnaces are not dangerous mechanical systems, proper maintenance is a must. If you need furnace repair and maintenance, it is crucial that you find a licensed technician with proper experience to provide you with hvac expertise. Don't look for the cheapest company to assure your home is safe. We also strongly suggest you qualify your technician. Ask specifically if they are heat exchanger certified and by which company. If you do receive a cracked heat exchanger diagnosis. Don't hesitate to contact a secondary company for confirmation. A small diagnostic fee can save you thousands in replacement costs.
The Guardian team of experts are heat exchanger certified, and more than qualified to provide you the right diagnosis. With 20 years experience, putting our customers first and creating long lasting loyal relationships is crucial for our teams. Guardian Heating & Air is always focused on honesty and reliability. Providing our customers with correct, affordable and expert solutions is how Guardian has gained a 5 star average rating!
Contact Guardian today to schedule your heating tune up and assure your furnace is safe for this upcoming heating season. Schedule now.