6 Ways Your Furnace Keeps You Safe
Your natural gas or propane furnace has a number of mechanisms allowing it to run safely and effectively. These features prevent fires and protect your indoor air quality (IAQ). They also work to prevent internal errors from damaging large portions of your furnace.
From our team here at Arise, here are six ways your furnace is working to ensure your safety:
1. Air Filter
This component protects your furnace’s internal parts and your indoor air quality. Air filters catch dust and debris, which would otherwise be circulated by your air ducts. Not only does dust make you sneezy, it can actually hurt some of the mechanical parts in your system over time. Remember to change your filter before it gets clogged, to prevent a variety of problems due to poor airflow. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations to see how frequently you need to change it, though we typically recommend every month.
2. Thermocouple (on standing pilot light furnaces)
These are sensors protecting you from gas leaks. If you have an old furnace with a pilot light and it won’t turn on, the valve could leak gas into your home. Thermocouples use thermal imagery to detect a flame source. When the thermocouple doesn’t sense your pilot light, it will automatically shut down the fuel flow to your furnace to prevent the harmful fumes from circulating.
3. Pressure Switch (on hot surface ignitor furnaces)
These switches detect changes in pressure that could indicate a failure in your heating system. One such error is called backdrafting. Backdrafting is when carbon monoxide (CO) exhaust is reintegrated into your furnace instead of exiting through the flue. This can be potentially deadly to breathe and is indicatory of other problems within the system.
4. Rollout Switch
Rollout is when the burner flames become too hot, or too high, leading to fire hazards. This is often a symptom of a cracked heat exchanger. Rollout switches sit near the burners and shut the furnace off if it gets too hot. This prevents a fire, as well as the unsafe release of carbon monoxide (CO) production due to combustion.
5. Limit Switch
Limit switches “limit” the overall temperature of your furnace to keep it from overheating. Your heating system utilizes a factory-designed switch to meet specifications for your particular furnace make and model. If the limit switch detects the temperature to be past a set peak (for example 200 degrees Fahrenheit), it will cut off power to your system.
Your furnace flue is a pipe that carries furnace exhaust out of your home using a blower. Exhaust is deadly to breathe and may contain flammable gas. It’s important to be sure your flue is installed properly and no obstruction exists within or near the pipe. Obstruction to the pipe restricts airflow and can cause backdrafting.
Although not a component of your HVAC equipment, a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector/monitor is a must for protecting your family. Carbon Monoxide gas is invisible, odorless, tasteless and poisonous. Arise can provide and install an appropriate CO monitor. Since placement of your CO monitor is key to its effectiveness, call Arise and we will help you determine the best location for your CO monitor.
At Arise, promoting home safety in Cedar Park, TX, is a priority! For more questions about your furnace, or to schedule service, you can reach us today at 512-267-5000.