If you use a furnace during the winter to warm your home—and based on how common furnaces are, you probably do—it won’t have put in much work so far this fall. But it won’t be long before you have it fired up and working to send warm air around the house to keep your family comfortable and safe during winter.
But you want to make sure that your gas furnace is safe as well. Natural gas furnaces are not “dangerous” devices. They are designed with special safety features and should run for many years without the danger of toxic gas leaks or combustion hazards. If you remember to always have your furnace inspected and tuned-up in fall (you can arrange for this with our maintenance plan) the chance of the furnace becoming unsafe is low.
But it can still happen, and knowing the warning signs so you can call for emergency furnace repairs from our technicians is very important. Take some time now, before the furnace gets to work, to familiarize yourself with the warnings.
There are many times when clicking sounds are normal for a furnace. When the burners come on you’ll often hear clicking. But if these sounds occur after the blower fan turns off, it indicates a possibly serious problem: a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is the metal chamber where the hot combustion gas transfers its energy to the air moving through the furnace. If the heat exchanger cracks—a possibility with an aging furnace that has corrosion—the gas can escape and enter the air stream, leading to carbon monoxide hazards. Shut off the furnace and call for a technician to look into the issue.
Corrosion on the furnace
It’s easy to think a furnace won’t corrode. It doesn’t use water, so why should it? But the reaction between the combustion gas and metal in the furnace will create corrosion eventually, especially if the furnace isn’t venting properly. Corrosion puts the heat exchanger at risk (see above) and is often a warning of a furnace that should be replaced rather than repaired.
Booming noise when the furnace starts
An abrupt, startling whoosh noise from the furnace as it turns on usually means the burners are having difficulty igniting. When they do ignite, the built-up combustion gas in the combustion chamber burns up at once, creating the surprising noise. You don’t want unburnt gas building up, so turn the furnace off and have a technician examine it.
Carbon monoxide detectors go off
If you use natural gas in your home, you must have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Because CO is odorless, it’s difficult to detect when the levels rise until they begin to have recognizable health effects. Detectors catch the rise in CO early so they can warn you of the hazard. Shut off the gas, have everyone leave your house, and then call for help. Later, you’ll need the furnace inspected.
When you need services for a furnace in Hoboken, NJ, it’s only a call away: our technicians can provide 24/7 emergency repairs for your furnace or other heating system.
Advanced Mechanical Services works with home heating throughout the Tri-State area, and we’re on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.