Rust on the Furnace: Should You Be Worried?

FurnaceYou’ve probably noticed rust on the internal parts or perhaps on the outside cabinet of your furnace. But a furnace doesn’t use water to give off heat like hydronics systems, such as boilers, do — so how does it develop rust? Is it a sign that your heating system is faulty?

It might be.

Understanding the Development of Rust in Your Furnace

Rust is a type of corrosion; it is the result of a chemical reaction between water and metal in the presence of oxygen. The great danger rust poses is that it eats away the metal, causing it to crumble and flake away. When this occurs to the furnace, especially along the heat exchangers, the heat exchanger may crack, which can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.

But how does rust start in a furnace? For a gas furnace, rust will develop because of a reaction between the metal and combustion gases. The gases transform into a vapor after the heat transfer. This vapor goes out through the metal, which then leads to corrosion over time.

If you have a very old furnace (more than 20 years old), rust means the furnace has reached the end of its lifespan and it’s time for you to schedule a replacement, furnace tune up experts in Lehi, Airtime-HVACUtah.com, said.

Don’t Let Rust Destroy Your Heating System

A small amount of rust on your old furnace shouldn’t worry you, but rust on a newer furnace should. To avoid this, replace or clean your furnace filter three or four times every year. Have it checked every year as well with experts in preventive maintenance. The older your furnace is, the more important calling the experts is. While modern gas furnaces have features that shut the system off when the problem is detected, older systems don’t.

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Not only does regular maintenance prevent rust and carbon monoxide leaks, but also helps your heating system become more energy efficient.

Understanding what rust in your furnace might mean, including the dangers it poses, is the first step to addressing the problem. The second step is to call a qualified expert to help you deal with it.