When your home has a gas furnace, you may worry about whether it is still burning natural gas as cleanly as it should. Especially if the heating system is an older model, you may worry about it producing carbon monoxide that could make you and your household sick.
One of the best ways to make sure that there are no large amounts of carbon monoxide in your home is to install a detector. You can also keep an eye out for a couple of signs that your home's old gas furnace is releasing carbon monoxide and should be replaced by a professional.
1. Black Streaks Are Found Around the Pilot Light, Burner, and the Interior Walls of the Furnace
One sign that your home's old furnace is releasing carbon monoxide is the presence of black streaks. You may see these streaks around the pilot light or electronic igniter, the burner, and/or on the interior walls of the furnace.
If your furnace is no longer burning natural gas as cleanly as it should, it will burn off too much carbon in the form of carbon monoxide. The black streaks you are finding inside the heater are caused by the residue of the carbon as it is released during combustion. This residue will continue to build up unless you have the old furnace replaced.
2. Excess Moisture or Water Droplets Are Found on the Walls Directly Next to the Heating System
Another sign that carbon monoxide is being released while your home furnace is running is the presence of excess moisture or water droplets on the walls directly next to the heating system. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may also notice that the air in the rest of your home feels humid.
When natural gas is not fully burned off and releases carbon monoxide, it also releases moisture into the air. As time goes on, the moisture will start to saturate the walls and infiltrate the air. Because this is a serious sign that your furnace is no longer working properly and is sending carbon monoxide into the air, you need to have it replaced.
Along with black streaks and excess moisture in and around the furnace, you may also notice that the burner flame is orange instead of blue and is emitting a sickly sweet odor when carbon monoxide is burning. If the furnace is old and exhibiting these signs of a carbon monoxide leak, it would be better to replace it rather than have the system repaired. Contact an HVAC contractor who offers heating replacement solutions to discuss your options.