Once I purchased my first home, I realized that I needed to do my part in caring for my home appliances. In addition to reading the user manuals for my kitchen appliances and state-of-the-art plumbing system, I realized that I also needed to do a little research about HVAC. Because I had no experience with HVAC systems, I called out a professional to teach me a thing or two. It was fascinating to talk with him, and I was able to take notes about all kinds of important topics, such as maintenance, troubleshooting, and even shopping for a new system. This blog is all about understanding HVAC guidelines.
Soot on or around your heating system is a concern. The more soot you have, the more serious the problem is. Here are some reasons for too much soot on a furnace, plus potential effects.
Here are some of the reasons for an unusual soot buildup.
1. Incomplete Combustion: Soot is a common byproduct of combustion — it represents incomplete combustion. Thus, a high degree of incomplete combustion leads to more soot produced. Common causes of incomplete combustion include:
Anything that interferes with the air-fuel ratio or the combustion process can cause incomplete combustion.
2. Ineffective Venting: Even an efficient combustion process produces some soot. In a normal heating setup, however, the system vents out the soot alongside other byproducts of combustion. Venting problems, such as blockages or damage, can cause the soot to accumulate in the house/furnace instead of venting out.
3. Cracked Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger isolates the burners from the rest of the furnace or house. If the heat exchanger cracks, it can allow the byproducts of combustion to spill into the neighboring environment.
Too much soot is not just an inconvenience — it usually means something is wrong with your furnace. Continued operation of such a furnace can lead to several problems, including the following.
1. Ignition Malfunction: Soot can buildup on the tip of the pilot light and restrict fuel flow. A dirty pilot light might fail to light or keep going off. The result is an inefficient heating and incomplete combustion that leads to further soot production.
2. Burner Insulation: Soot buildup on the burners acts as insulation material. The insulation impedes heat transfer and prevents the burners from becoming too hot. Again, the result is an inefficient heating and more soot production due to incomplete combustion.
3. CO Poisoning: In many cases, the malfunctions (such as cracked heat exchanger) that increase soot production also cause carbon monoxide (CO) production. The CO can contaminate your indoor air. CO is a poisonous gas whose inhalation can cause respiratory problems or even death.
As you can see, you shouldn't ignore soot in your heating system. Don't just wipe off the soot and operate your heater as usual. Find out why your heating system is that sooty and fix the problem. Contact services like Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar if you need heating repairs.