Weather experts have forecasted another brutal winter this year, which has everyone prepping for the upcoming chilly months. Some homeowners rely on their trusty oil furnace to keep the house heated throughout winter. To ensure the oil furnace runs smoothly, the appliance should be serviced prior to every new season of use, and that includes have the flue swept out and inspected. Not every oil furnace technician cleans the flue, so make sure your furnace flue gets cleaned before winter really gets going.
The furnace flue has the primary job of venting toxic materials produced by the oil combustion process out of the house. Every time the furnace runs, soot forms and settles on chimney liner. Mostly comprised of carbon and sulfur, this black and messy material can build up to the point of blocking the proper ventilation of toxic fumes. This forces byproducts of the burning process to backup into the house, polluting the air you breathe. Some of this pollution can be very dangerous, like carbon monoxide. This invisible gas has no smell or taste to alert you of its presence, which means you could suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning without even realizing it.
On the other hand, the soot may also fall back onto the appliance, making it difficult to properly expel the resulting gases. This can hinder the efficiency of the furnace, which will cost you money in wasted fuel, and it can even shorten the life span of the furnace, which will cost you in buying a new furnace earlier than expected.
The soot that does not block the flow of gases through the flue or fall back onto the appliance simply clings to the walls of the flue. While it seems harmless enough just sitting there, it is actually causing damage right before your eyes. When the carbon and sulfur mixture combines with water vapors or rain water, it seeps into the clay tiles of the flue liner and deteriorates them by cracking, flaking and spalling. In the case of a stainless steel flue liner, the sulfur undergoes an acidic reaction that burns tiny holes into the liner. Whether the clay tiles start flaking or the stainless steel fills with holes, the flue liner can no longer do its job of protecting the house from dangerous flue gases.
Fortunately, all of this can be prevented by regularly cleaning and maintaining the flue of the oil furnace. If it seems the appliance technician has not cleaned the flue during the regular servicing appointment, do not hesitate to ask. Schedule a separate cleaning if you have any uncertainty about the condition of the flue. Your health and the longevity of your furnace depend on this regular care. To schedule a flue cleaning in the area of New Haven and Fairfield, Connecticut, contact Total Chimney Care.