Many homes use a furnace flue to safely vent out the gases created from the combustion that occurs within the heating system. These gases including carbon monoxide that travels through a vent to the outside of the home much like a chimney. In some cases the furnace flue is connect to actual chimneys however, home designs as well as the furnace flue can vary. Over time the furnace flue can become blocked or clogged which requires cleaning to ensure the gases don’t get pushed back inside the home. Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning will share signs that the furnace flues needs cleaning and why.
Signs of a Clogged or Blocked Furnace Flue
Flue pipes can become blocked or clogged by ash, bird nest, and other debris which restricts the air flow. When a flue is clogged or becomes too dirty, it requires to be cleaned to prevent the gases created by the furnace reentering the home. Flues often develop scales which occur as the combustion and gases rise up through the flue during humid days. The moisture collects the emissions and gases and over time developing the scales that aid in clogging the flue. When the flue is clogged or has a lot of moisture trapped inside the flue rust can begin to develop and rust stains and mineral salts will become visible. Another common sign the flue needs to be cleaned is soot stains around the furnace. Soot can also build up around the vent and in the chimney. For those that use a masonry chimney soot will also build up round the brisk. If the flue is blocked and the gases are building up inside the flue, when using the fire place the flames will look blue or yellow.
Risks of a Blocked Flue Pipe
One of the primary risks of a clogged flue is carbon monoxide and other gases being pushed through the chimney and entering back inside the home. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and can’t be seen. It is very dangerous. When exposed to carbon monoxide gas household members will develop flu like symptoms. First fevers and headaches occur followed by intense nausea and vomiting. Other common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and finally loss of consciousness. When symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning occur, immediately open all the windows inside the home and go outside.
Clean Furnace Flue
If symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning occur turn off the furnace and keep the windows open until the furnace flue and or chimney is cleaned. However, it is better to keep the flue cleaned to prevent clogs from occurring. To prevent flue from becoming clogged have the furnace flue cleaned once a year. With yearly cleaning the flues are regularly maintained the flue with never get clogged.