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Go-To Guide to Knowing Your Furnace

The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation

From keeping your home warm and dry to making sure your water stays clean and hot, the job of the plumber is to protect the health of the consumer. This is the philosophy we at R&J Plumbing not only believe in, but live by.

What is a furnace heat exchanger and why can it fail?

The heat exchanger is the heart of your furnace. This is the part of your furnace that separates the heat that is dispersed throughout and warms your home away from the exhaust fumes which are vented to the outside of the home. It is important to have this part checked by a qualified technician once a year to prevent an unnoticed crack from leaking carbon monoxide into your home. There is only one reason your heat exchanger will crack prematurely - overheating.

How do I know if my furnace is overheating?

Furnaces can overheat for a variety of reasons, but most of the time overheating is caused by airflow issues. If your furnace isn't getting enough air it can overheat and cause an electrical short or shut down, potentially causing a fire to occur. Air flow issues are typically the first thing your technician will inspect. This could be a simple fix like changing your air filter or making sure that the vents around your home are not blocked. Your furnace will not necessarily show outward signs of cracking or breaking until the unit can no longer function. Up until this point your furnace may be leaking small but steady amounts of carbon monoxide into the home. This is why it is so important to have your heating system inspected on a regular basis. Though it can be done any time throughout the year, the best time to get your furnace inspected is at the beginning of the cold season which is typically between September and November. Scheduled maintenance of your heating system is the best way to make sure you are not “left out in the cold'' in the middle of the winter.

What can I do to prevent my furnace from cracking or breaking?

Colorado and the Front Range have been dealing with big shifts in air quality and your filter is your home’s first line of defense against harmful air particles. We recommend changing your furnace filter every three months or at least once a season. If you have an older home, are renovating your home, or you suffer from allergies we recommend changing your furnace filter at least once a month. Practicing proper scheduled maintenance and using the correct filter on your furnace is an important part of keeping a healthy home. Dirty components or a cracked heat exchanger can also cause overheating so it’s best to have a trained technician perform an inspection of your system.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

As our philosophy mentions, the health of the consumer is our number one priority. A cracked or broken furnace can cause toxic leaks into your home and as we mentioned earlier, this can cause slow and possibly unnoticed carbon monoxide leaks. In the unfortunate event that your furnace is not in correct order it is imperative to understand the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms are not always obvious and can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, shortness of breath, loss of vision, and loss of consciousness. Small amounts of carbon monoxide exposure can be difficult to detect, so we recommend installing carbon monoxide detectors outside of your bedrooms and mechanical room. If you feel you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, please seek medical treatment immediately and have your home inspected by a trained technician.

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