During the wintertime in Kansas City, MO, you’ll need your gas furnace to keep your home warm and comfortable. Most of the time, gas furnaces operate without any issues. However, a gas leak can happen at any time. Gas leaks pose a serious hazard to your health and the well-being of yourself and anyone else in your household, including pets. Gas leaks require a trained HVAC technician to diagnose and repair. In some cases, the technician may need to work with a gas company technician to fix the leak. Let’s take a look at seven possible causes of furnace gas leaks.
1. Cracked Heat Exchanger
The most common reason why a furnace leaks gas is a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger contains a combustion chamber. This is where the furnace burns natural gas. The heat exchanger gets hot, and the blower pushes room-temperature air across it. The air absorbs heat from the heat exchanger, then enters your home’s duct system and your living space. A crack in the heat exchanger allows the natural gas to leak into your home before the furnace has a chance to burn it. Overheating, rust, corrosion, and debris buildup lead to heat exchanger cracks.
2. Corroded Gas Supply Line
The gas supply line to your furnace is controlled by a valve. If the valve or supply line develops corrosion, this could lead to a gas leak from your furnace. Age and accidental damage during a furnace tune-up or repair may also damage the gas supply valve or pipe. If you notice a strong smell of gas near the furnace, evacuate your home and call for an urgent repair.
3. Cracked Gas Supply Line
A crack in the gas supply line also leads to a gas leak. The gas won’t have a chance to enter the combustion chamber. You might hear a hissing sound near the furnace or coming from a pipe. This hazardous situation requires immediate attention from a qualified service technician.
4. Dirty Air Filter
A dirty air filter impedes airflow into the combustion chamber. Without a steady supply of oxygen, your furnace can’t burn natural gas. This may cause a gas buildup within the combustion chamber. Eventually, the pressure of the gas may cause it to leak into your home. We recommend checking the filter each month and changing it at least every two to three months.
5. Obstructed or Damaged Ductwork
The return ducts deliver room-temperature air back to your furnace. Debris stuck in your home’s ductwork also impedes airflow, and this, in turn may cause your furnace to leak gas. An animal may have nested within the ductwork, or a thick layer of dust may obstruct the airflow through the ducts. A hole, crack or loose seal on your ductwork also reduces air return to the furnace. An annual inspection of your home’s ducts identifies these types of damage. Duct cleaning every two to four years ensures that debris is kept to a minimum.
6. Blocked Flue
Furnaces require a flue to ventilate the combustion byproducts. Combustion byproducts include toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide. A blockage in the flu forces those byproducts back into your home. A blocked flue may also lead to a gas leak. Some common causes of a blocked flue include birds’ and rodents’ nests, animal droppings, and tree or shrub debris. Storm debris could also block the flue opening. Some flues have doors that stay shut during the summertime. If these doors remain closed during the winter season, the gas may be forced into your home.
7. Backdrafts From Running Multiple Exhaust Fans
When you cook, clean, or use hobby products that generate fumes, you might turn on several exhaust fans. Running exhaust fans while your furnace is cycling may create a backdraft. The backdraft draws combustion byproducts back into your home. We recommend only using the exhaust fan for as long as necessary and limiting their use to the room where activities create fumes or steam.
If you’re not in need of furnace repairs today, we also offer air conditioner repairs and heating and cooling system preventive maintenance, replacement, and installation. Our geothermal, water heater, and indoor air quality services keep your home comfortable and healthy all year long. If you own a business in or near Kansas City, count on us for reliable commercial HVAC services. For more information about the causes of furnace gas leaks, contact us at Air Care Heating & Cooling today.