Our Company Blog

Fall Maintenance For Your Gas Furnace

Don’t get caught in the cold this winter. One of the biggest problems a homeowner can face is a dead furnace on a cold winter night. With proper fall maintenance, you can help your furnace to run safer and more efficiently, and help to extend the life of your furnace and spot any potential problems before your furnace completely expires. There are a few simple steps to caring for your gas furnace each fall to ensure optimal performance.

Turn Off the Power

Before you proceed with annual maintenance for your gas furnace, you need to turn off the electricity and fuel to your furnace. Turn off the electrical switch to the unit, and close off the fuel line. The on/off switch for your gas furnace should be near the base of the unit.

Clean & Inspect the Combustion ChamberMaintenance For Gas Furnaces Image - Indianapolis, IN - Your Chimney Sweep

Gas furnace maintenance begins with a cleaning and visual inspection of the combustion chamber. Remove the door to the combustion chamber and thoroughly vacuum it out. Inspect the chamber for any signs of rust, corrosion or deterioration.

Clean & Inspect the Blowers

Just as you did with the combustion chamber, clean and inspect the blower compartment. Open the door to the compartment and vacuum out the inside. Inspect the compartment for holes or deterioration.

Change the Filter

Your furnace filter traps any dust or particles that would enter the furnace and potentially damage it. Change the furnace filter before you begin running the furnace for the year, and replace or clean the filter once every three months while the furnace is in use.

Oil the Bearings

If you have an older furnace, your furnace might have two bearings and two blower-shaft bearings, which need to be oiled once a year. If the bearings are there, remove the caps and wipe the bearings clean. Add two to three drops of machine oil and replace the caps.

Check the Burner Flames

Now that your furnace is clean and oiled, restore the power and fuel to the unit. Turn the furnace on and inspect the burner flames. The flames should burn bright blue and should burn steadily. If the flames are yellow or inconsistent, you should have your furnace checked by a professional.

Have Your Furnace Swept & Inspected

It’s also crucial to have your furnace flue swept and inspected by a professional. The sweeping will clear away any corrosive soot and guarantee that there aren’t any hazardous blockages in the flue, which could drive carbon monoxide back into your home. During the inspection, your sweep will look for cracks or flaws in the furnace flue and make sure that the liner is in good shape and safe for use.

If you’re preparing your gas furnace for the winter, call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule a furnace flue sweeping today! We’ll make sure that your furnace flue is clean and safe to use this winter.

By Joe Sauter on November 9th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Dangers of Chimney Creosote

Creosote Dangers Image - Indianapolis IN - Your Chimney SweepHas your chimney been inspected this fall? If you have a wood-burning appliance, you likely know the importance of having your chimney swept and inspected every fall before you light a fire, to ward off a potential chimney fire. You also might have heard the term “creosote” bandied about by your sweep or in reference to chimney fires. But what exactly is creosote? How does it form? And why is it so dangerous?

What is creosote?

Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood. It’s a tar-like substance that sticks to the walls of your chimney and builds up over time. Creosote can be sticky and brown or smooth and black.

How does creosote form?

Every time you burn a wood fire in your fireplace, creosote builds up on the walls of your chimney. As smoke travels up your chimney, it cools, and condensation forms on the walls of your chimney. That condensation contains all of the chemical elements put off by your wood fire. As your chimney continues to cool, the condensation hardens into creosote.

Why is creosote so dangerous?

The No. 1 danger associated with creosote is chimney fire. Creosote is highly combustible, and when it builds up to a measurable degree within your chimney, it poses a major fire risk. Creosote caked on the walls of your chimney can ignite either when the temperature within your chimney spikes to high enough temperature, or when a stray ember from the fireplace makes its way into the chimney. Ultimately, creosote is considered the primary risk factor for a chimney fire.

Creosote does come with some health risk factors, as well, but because the average homeowner using a wood-burning fireplace doesn’t come into contact with creosote, the health dangers of creosote are generally negligible for those who aren’t handling it. Creosote can irritate eyes and skin upon contact, or it can aggravate the lungs if inhaled. Ingesting creosote can cause stomach pain or even liver or kidney damage.

How can you reduce the dangers of creosote?

You probably know that the best way to reduce the dangers of creosote, namely the dangers of a chimney fire, is to have your chimney swept and inspected regularly. As those in the chimney industry are fond of saying, “Clean chimneys don’t catch fire!” In between sweepings, you can reduce creosote buildup in your chimney by burning dry, seasoned firewood. Seasoned firewood burns hotter and more cleanly, while wet firewood lets of more smoke and steam, leading to a more rapid buildup of creosote in the chimney.

Keep your home safe from the dangers of creosote by having your chimney swept and inspect before you burn a fire this fall! If you’re due for a chimney sweeping, call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule an appointment today!

By Joe Sauter on October 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment