If you see smoke coming out of your oil or gas furnace, you need to take a closer look at it.
Make no mistake about it, black or gray smoke billowing out of a furnace is not a good sign at all.
Note, the first step to ensure safety is to turn off the furnace. Only then you can inspect to find the root cause of the problem and fix it.
What Causes Smoke in a Furnace?
If you have installed a brand-new furnace and turned it on for the first time, you can expect some amount of white smoke. In most cases, this smoke has a sweet and syrupy smell.
This is due to the residual oil coting in the heat exchanger burning off from the heat. You can expect the smoke to stop within 15 to 20 minutes. At times, the accumulated dust inside the furnace can also cause a burning smell.
In case the smoke is gray or black and has a soot-like smell, the issue can be more severe.
Here are some reasons that can cause such smoke generation.
A Clogged Oil Filter or Nozzle
The oil filter can get clogged with impurities that come from the oil. When the filter doesn’t filter the oil effectively, the dirty oil runs in the furnace. This can lead to smoke and a burning smell. You need to call a technician to check the furnace and replace the filter if needed.
This might be a wake up call to switch from oil to gas heating, which is cleaner burning and is less-prone to creating smoke.
Generally, the in-built safety mechanism shuts down the furnace in case of overheating. In case the safety mechanism breaks down, there are chances of electrical fires. This is a major safety hazard that should be fixed by a specialist.
Overheating can also lead to the burning of any foreign material that might have found an entry in the furnace. This can also result in smoke formation.
It is always best to clean up the exhaust port at regular intervals. Quite often exhaust systems are the favorite spot for birds to build nests. It is always best to protect this spot and prevent bird access.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
This is a serious problem and can be potentially hazardous. This is because poisonous carbon monoxide gas can leak out from the heat exchanger into your living space. While there might not be any visible smoke, you will get strong and foul odors rising from the furnace.
The failure of the heat exchanger can happen as the furnace ages. Any furnace with a cracked heat exchanger is usually declared inoperable.
Call Our Team for Support
Quite simply, smoke due to blocked nozzles and improper combustion can lead to serious fire and health hazards. It is always best to take the help of a certified professional to get the furnace checked in case of smoke generation.