December is the first official month of winter, and it’s also when you can expect to have your gas heating system (such as a gas furnace or boiler) run regularly. This is a good time to address a concern about using natural gas in your home. Natural gas isn’t automatically dangerous—as long as gas appliances are maintained and repaired by licensed professionals, they operate at the highest levels of safety and will do so until they’re ready for a replacement.
Your gas heating system is designed with safety uppermost in mind—it would never pass government regulations if it didn’t. But as the heating season gets fully underway, we want to remind you of some important aspects of gas safety and your heating system. You may need to have a heating repair in Portales, NM in the event of a faulty furnace or boiler, and the more you know about potential gas risks, the easier it will be for you to react in time and have the problem fixed.
Routine Maintenance Is Essential
We cannot stress enough the importance of scheduling pre-season maintenance for your gas heater. People often act dismissive toward maintenance for most appliances, but with a gas-fired furnace or boiler, these annual inspections are critical for locating potential hazards, such as a cracked heat exchanger, corrosion, or faulty gas line.
Only a licensed expert can perform the inspection correctly. (In fact, only certified professionals are legally permitted to do any work on an appliance connected to a gas main.) During the inspection, the technicians will locate any spots of concern so you can arrange to have the heating repairs to fix it.
The Cracked Heat Exchanger
This is the most common safety concern with both boilers and furnaces using natural gas. The heat exchanger is the metal container in the heater that collects the hot combustion gas from the burners and then transfers their heat to the water/air through the heated metal surface.
Because the metal of the heat exchanger expands each time it heats up, the stress over the years can cause cracks to form—and this may permit toxic exhaust gases like carbon monoxide to escape into the air of the house. Inspections are the best way to catch these problems, but hearing clicking noises from the heat exchanger after a heating cycle is also a warning. The problem can be fixed by replacing the heat exchanger, but if the system is old enough (15 years or more) the better option is a replacement unit.
Corrosion isn’t something you ever want to see on a boiler. But it’s bad news on a furnace as well, since it can mean the corrosion is on the heat exchanger, and that will quickly weaken the metal and allow combustion gases to escape. A corroded boiler usually needs to be replaced, and sometimes a furnace needs to be replaced as well. If caught early enough, technicians can replace only the corroded parts.