Did you know that furnace flues need annual maintenance, no matter what type of fuel is used? We’ve discovered that our customers often have the idea that cleaning of the furnace flue is handled by the fuel supplier or utility company, but that is not the case. A neglected furnace flue can be dangerous, and one reason is that debris can block the flue and cause soot blowback into the house. The problem can cause carbon monoxide fumes to enter the home, resulting in illness and sometimes even death. An annual furnace flue inspection by professionals can help to ensure that it’s safe to use your furnace.
Warning: Potential Life-Threatening Hazards
The potential problems in the flue caused by a furnace are different from those caused by a wood-burning fireplace or stove, but they are no less dangerous. Oil and gas furnaces produce by-products which can literally eat away the flue lining. A clay liner, for instance, will begin breaking apart and can block gasses from escaping out of the flue. This is the type of situation in which carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a real danger. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, it often goes undetected in the atmosphere until it causes severe illness. It’s essential to have carbon monoxide detectors and check them routinely to be sure they are still working properly, since the devices are true life-savers.
Not only does acidic condensate cause damage to furnace flues, chimney masonry can also suffer deterioration.
Any type of blockage can introduce the same dangerous result of causing carbon monoxide to enter the home. In a furnace flue inspection, birds’ nests and all types of debris are removed from the flue so that the heating system can operate safely.
Another major concern with a furnace flue is when there is a conversion to a gas appliance. Building codes actually require that the flue be inspected and cleaned before the change is made, but this step is often missed. The accumulation of oil or coal soot will eventually lose its bond and drip down the flue, aided in part by moisture in the stack gases produced by the new furnace. The clean-out pit and flue opening can both become clogged, as a result.
The size of the furnace flue must meet requirements of the appliance; otherwise, a variety of problems can occur, such as too much moisture in the combustion gases in the flue. The sizing and configuration of the entire venting system is a crucial element to the safe use of your furnace, which is another important reason you should depend upon professional chimney technicians for installation and maintenance.
When to Schedule a Furnace Flue Inspection
Besides having an annual flue inspection to ensure that there is no blockage or damage in the furnace flue, the following are good times to have your furnace and flue checked:
- Prior to moving into a new home
- Before installing a new furnace in your home
While a furnace does not produce as much particulate build-up as a wood-burning fireplace, a cleaning is important partly because connections of your venting unit need to be removed and cleaned out.
Our chimney sweeps are fully certified and trained to clean all types of furnaces and heating appliances. The continued safe operation of your heating system can be assured with a regularly scheduled furnace flue cleaning and inspection.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110