What You Need To Know If You Have A Fuel-Burning Furnace

3 February 2017
 Categories: , Blog


If you have a fuel-burning furnace in your home, it is crucial for you to have a carbon monoxide detector and a nitrogen dioxide detector. Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are dangerous gases that could pose health risks to you and your family members. In fact, these gases can be deadly. It's also crucial for your furnace to function properly in order to reduce the risks of having these dangerous gases in your home. Here's what you need to know if your home is heated by a fuel-burning furnace. 


Think about when you have a candle lit inside a jar. You know if you cover the opening of the jar, then the candle will get snuffed out. This is due to the sudden lack of oxygen. Oxygen is one of the substances that is necessary for fire and combustion to take place. The relationship between substances that react and form compounds when combined is called stoichiometry of combustion.

Complete Combustion

Combustion in a fuel-burning furnace needs a mixture of oxygen and fuel. Complete combustion results when the mixture of oxygen and fuel is right and in the correct amounts. Two compounds that are formed during the combustion process are carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Complete combustion will use these compounds. In this ideal scenario, there will be nothing left. However, the mixture needs to be absolutely perfect for no gases to remain. But since the world is not perfect, the combustion process is usually incomplete. 

Incomplete Combustion 

Incomplete combustion occurs when the mixture is not right. Either the fuel will not entirely burn or the oxygen will not be entirely used to feed the fire in the combustion process. The compounds that are formed will not get entirely used, which means some of the compounds will remain in the furnace. When carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide remain, they can leak out of the furnace and get into the living areas of your home. 

One of the most obvious causes of incomplete combustion is the lack of an adequate supply of oxygen. Since furnaces require fresh air for combustion to take place, vents to the furnace should be open and free of clogs. Additionally, the flue needs to be open and clog-free. The dangerous gases are supposed to escape through the flue. However, if the flue is closed or clogged, the gases remain and fresh air cannot enter to provide additional oxygen for the combustion of fuel in the furnace to take place again. To learn more, contact a company like Total Comfort Heating & Cooling.