Annual furnace maintenance is essential for your heating system’s continued operation and effectiveness. One part of this maintenance is cleaning the entire furnace, including the ignition burners. If you don’t have your furnace burners cleaned every year, it can create a safety hazard and reduce your heating system’s effectiveness and energy efficiency. With this in mind, here is a quick overview of why having your furnace burners cleaned is essential and signs indicating that your burners need cleaning.
What Happens If the Furnace Burners Are Dirty?
The burners in a furnace work to burn gas inside the combustion chamber to create heat. Along with the heat exchanger, the burners are the most important part of your heating system. As gas burns inside the chamber, soot, dirt, and grime can begin to collect on the burners. This can begin to clog up the burners and lead to numerous issues.
When the burners are dirty, they can’t burn the gas properly. This leads to incomplete combustion and causes the furnace to produce less heat. As a result, it will use more energy and not warm your home as effectively.
Buildup on the burners can also lead to an ignition delay where gas momentarily flows into the combustion chamber without being burnt. Once the burner does ignite, it can create a dangerous fire burst inside the chamber that could cause the heat exchanger to crack. This is a serious issue as a cracked heat exchanger can allow carbon monoxide to escape. For these reasons, you must have your furnace professionally inspected and the burners fully cleaned at least once a year.
How Furnace Burners Are Cleaned
Unfortunately, cleaning your furnace burners is not something you can do on your own as it requires at least partially disassembling the unit. It is usually necessary to take apart the entire gas assembly on older furnaces to clean the burners. Many newer units do allow you to remove each of the burners individually. However, cleaning these burners is still something you should always leave to the professionals as you could easily damage your furnace or potentially cause a gas leak if you make a mistake.
After removing all the burners, our technicians will scrub them to remove any dirt and grime. They will then use compressed air to clean out any grime or debris inside the burner. Our technicians will also clean the flame sensor, which can interfere with the furnace’s ability to work correctly. The last step is to replace the burners and test to ensure everything is functioning properly.
Signs That Your Furnace Burners Are Dirty
The most obvious sign that your furnace burners are dirty and need cleaning is if you hear a loud booming noise whenever the furnace first ignites. The noise comes from the explosion or fire burst that occurs once the gas in the combustion chamber finally ignites. If you hear this noise, the burners are slightly clogged, causing an ignition delay.
You can also visually inspect to see if the burners are dirty by looking at the color and size of the flame whenever the furnace is heating. If you take the cover off of the furnace, you will be able to see the burners. To check if they are working correctly, first turn up your thermostat until the furnace starts up.
Look at each flame to see if they are all the same size. If one or more of the flames is smaller or weaker, the burners are dirty and need cleaning. You will also want to pay attention to the color of the flames. When the burners are clean, there should be a steady blue flame coming from each of the burners.
If the flame flickers or you see any orange, green or yellow streaks, the gas is not being fully combusted. This problem most commonly results because the burners are dirty. However, it can also occur due to other issues like a cracked heat exchanger or a blocked or leaking exhaust flue.
All these issues are extremely serious, and you will need to call a HVAC professional to check your furnace out as soon as possible. Until then, you should leave your furnace turned off to prevent carbon monoxide from flooding into your home or other safety issues.
Our Professional Services
At Coffman & Company, we specialize in furnace and air conditioner maintenance. Our team services all types and all brands of heating and cooling units, and we will always take the time to fully inspect and clean your system so that it works correctly. Additionally, we install new cooling and heating systems. Lastly, our professionals are IAQ experts and are happy to consult with you about how to improve the quality of the air your family breathes at home.
If you need heating maintenance or any HVAC service in the Denver Metro area, contact Coffman & Company today.