Once you turn up the temperature on a thermostat, the furnace should respond. As long as the furnace runs the way it should, then homeowners won’t have any problems. “Problems,” to most people, would be a heater that doesn’t maintain its temperature setting. Sometimes, however, the furnace not only heats up, but it also overheats. That is not a problem to overlook. A lot of damage can result when a furnace overheats, which is why it is best to determine the issue and fix it promptly. Hopefully, doing so will eliminate the chance for any additional malfunctions.
Why Overheating Is Troubling
The average homeowner is not familiar with all of the parts inside a furnace. Regardless, all of those components must work the right way for the furnace to heat the home and, hopefully, do so in a safe manner. The heat exchanger becomes susceptible to cracking when a furnace overheats. Replacing the heat exchanger can become a costly repair job. Cost, however, will not be the only concern of anyone inside the house if the heat exchanger suffers damage.
The heat exchanger accepts gas from the burners. With the help of a blower, the gases heat the air. The air then circulates through the system to heat a house. The heat exchanger takes the resultant exhaust gas and sends it outside the home. Once the exchanger develops a crack, a danger arises, as the heat exchanger becomes prone to leaking. In that situation, your property could fill with dangerous carbon monoxide. Hopefully, you should have carbon monoxide detector installed. Still, it is obviously best to reduce all chances of a carbon monoxide leak.
Also advisable is learning the common reasons why a furnace may overheat. Such knowledge can help a homeowner to take steps to cut down on the odds of overheating.
A Dirty Filter
The filter inside of a heater serves a vital purpose. Heated air travels through the system to bring up the interior temperature. Air is not always pure, and it may carry dirt, dust, dander, and other contaminants. A filter acts as a screen to these impurities. Air travels through the filter, and the filter catches all the dirt. A filter, however, can only do this job for so long. As more and more debris collects on the screen, the harder it becomes for air to get through. The older and dirtier the filter gets, the more restricted airflow becomes. Less airflow means the furnace can overheat.
Changing the filter regularly must become a top furnace maintenance priority. Make sure a technician does the job and performs a routine inspection at suggested intervals. Overlooking minor details such as a filter change can lead to tremendous problems. Spend a little to change a filter, and you may avoid massive costs from other issues.
Consider Other Air Blockage Reasons
A dirty filter is one reason why air might not circulate through the system. However, there are others. A blockage in an air grille, for example, could cause a similar problem. Keep on top of anything capable of producing air blockages; otherwise, problems may ensue. Doing so will likely require calling in a professional to check things out and perform any necessary fixes. Summit Heating & AC handles everything from furnace tune-ups to full replacements. Denver-area residents can take advantage of our repair and maintenance work for their heating and cooling systems.
The HVAC System Got Too Dirty
Homeowners do not often see inside the furnace, so they do not realize how dirty it can get. If years pass without a good cleaning, expect the interior to look more than a little filthy. The furnace blower, in particular, could find itself working poorly due to dirt buildup. The blower contributes to air circulation. If the blower cannot do its job the right way, then reduced airflow becomes an unwanted outcome. As is the case with a dirty filter, less airflow can lead to the system heating up and the furnace shutting down.
A gas-powered furnace does not rely exclusively on gas. Electricity powers various parts inside the system. Wires and other electrical components can run into problems such as shorts. Once the electrical system has issues, there could be a ripple effect through the heater. The results could include problems with the system overheating. So, an electrical check should be part of any inspection.
A furnace runs like every other machine. All of the parts have a job to perform, and when they cannot do that job, the system starts to suffer. Worn or damaged components can drag down the operation of the system and cause overheating. If the blower is not working efficiently, even if dirt is not a problem, then things could get overheated. Homeowners may or may not notice something wrong with their furnace, which is why signing up for routine maintenance can be helpful. A trained and experienced service professional could pick up on a problem, such as a worn part. The technician can then discuss the proper fix. Perhaps the issue even falls under warranty coverage.
Besides weighing options for service visits, homeowners should think about giving their heater a break every now and then. Parts might wear down faster due to overuse. “Cranking up” the temperature to well into the 70s might add more strain. Over time, the strain will have an unwanted effect on the parts. Now, the system cannot do its job as best as it should, and overheating may result.
The Furnace Ages Out
At some point, you must replace your furnace. Fifteen years is the usual lifespan of a furnace, although some may only last 10 years. Regardless of the lifespan, the heater will slowly die out and require replacing. Age, like use and overuse, wears down parts. As noted before, once components start wearing out and breaking down, the furnace will not work as effectively. Problems will probably ensue, and that means the risk for overheating increases. There is no fix for a heater slowly reaching its end of days other than to replace it. Doing so sooner rather than later seems like the more prudent option. Don’t wait too long to replace the system.
The Failsafe Switch
It is worth pointing out that furnaces do come with a failsafe switch designed to shut the heater off once it begins to overheat. Modern technology affords HVAC systems with a valuable built-in safety component called the high-limit switch. If the high-limit switch works correctly, the furnace should shut down before the heat exchanger cracks and any carbon monoxide leaks. If there is a problem with the high-limit switch, then a disaster may result. Take that as just one reason to have your furnace inspected routinely. Uncovering unknown problems creates opportunities to have them repaired.
Contact Summit Heating & AC in Denver today to schedule an appointment to discuss repairs or a new furnace installation. You can also inquire about water heaters and heat pump repair. Our technicians can handle air quality requests, too.