Did you know that a furnace features several safety mechanisms to protect your home and property? Because a furnace is essentially a controlled fire, it makes sense that the designers went to all these lengths to ensure it is safe. One of the main issues with gas furnaces is flame rollout, a phenomenon where the flame is not sucked into the heat exchanger but flows out into other parts of the furnace. To prevent this, most furnaces feature a flame rollout sensor or switch. When the sensor or switch notices that the flame is “rolling out” from the furnace, it sends a signal that shuts it off. However, this safety mechanism is not a heating and air conditioning service substitute.
What Are the Causes of Furnace Flame Rollout?
Furnace flame rollout arises when inflammable combustion gases accumulate in the unit’s combustion chamber. This might arise because of several reasons, including:
- A blockage in the furnace flue pipe prevents the venting of the combustion gases outside.
- If the heat exchanger is cracked
- When there is a low gas pressure
- An accumulation of soot prevents the combustion gases from leaving the combustion chamber.
All these are issues that a technician can uncover and resolve when they come to your Plano, TX home for a heating and air conditioning service. Hence, although the furnace has those protection mechanisms, you cannot skip maintenance.
Dangers of Flame Rollout from Your Furnace
Flame rollout occurs when the flame from the burner in a furnace spreads outside the designated combustion area and comes into contact with other combustible materials. This can happen for several reasons, including a faulty or dirty flame sensor, a malfunctioning ignition system, or a blocked or restricted flue. Flame rollout can cause the furnace to overheat and potentially ignite nearby materials, leading to a fire.
The flames from the burner may also spread to other areas of the furnace, increasing the risk of a fire. It is important to have a heating and air conditioning service provider inspect and maintain the furnace regularly to prevent flame rollout and the risk of a furnace fire. Additionally, ensure that it is properly sized for your home. It is also a good idea to have a professional inspect your furnace annually to identify and fix any potential issues.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled in high concentrations. It is produced when fuels such as natural gas, propane, or oil burn incompletely, and it can build up to dangerous levels in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces. When flame rollout occurs in a furnace, it can cause the furnace to burn fuel inefficiently and produce high levels of CO. This gas can accumulate in the air and be inhaled by anyone in the vicinity, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. If untreated, CO poisoning can lead to loss of consciousness and death. It is important to install a CO detector in your Plano, TX home and to regularly maintain and inspect your furnace to prevent the risk of CO poisoning from flame rollout. Hence, ensure that a heating and air conditioning service provider inspects and services the furnace regularly to prevent flame rollout.
High Energy Costs
The other danger of flame rollout from the furnace is increased heating utility bills. Have you noticed that your heating bills have drastically increased recently? You should have your furnace inspected by a heating and air conditioning service provider. Firstly, when the burner’s flame spreads outside the designated combustion area, it can cause the furnace to burn fuel inefficiently. This means more fuel is required to heat the home, resulting in higher energy consumption.
Further, if a faulty or dirty flame sensor causes the flame rollout, the furnace may continue to burn fuel even when it is not needed. This can result in the furnace overheating and consuming more energy than necessary to heat the home. Therefore, it is important to regularly maintain and clean your furnace and ensure it is properly sized for your home. It is also a good idea to have a heating and air conditioning service provider inspect your furnace annually to identify and fix any potential issues.
Risk of an Explosion
The other danger and most dire of them all when it comes to flame rollout is an explosion. This can arise if the flame comes into contact with flammable materials such as gas or dust. When this happens, the flames can ignite the materials and cause them to explode, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation. Additionally, if the flames from the rollout come into contact with the furnace’s gas supply line, it can cause a gas leak. If this gas accumulates in a confined space and is ignited by a spark or flame, it can result in an explosion.
So, how can you avert an explosion from your furnace for whatever cause? Your first port of call should be to have a heating and air conditioning service provider inspect and maintain your furnace. It is also a good idea to have a professional inspect your furnace annually to identify and fix any potential issues. In the event of a furnace explosion, it is important to evacuate your home immediately and call the fire department. You should always pay attention to the tripping flame rollout sensor because it is a sign that an underlying problem needs the attention of a heating and air conditioning service provider.
Flame rollout can prove dangerous if not addressed in time by an experienced heating and air conditioning service provider. From causing fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning to damage to the furnace and using much energy, this isn’t a problem to postpone. Contact us at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas, your reliable furnace repair company in Plano, TX.