The ability to consistently heat our homes with a functional and reliable furnace is a great privilege that a lot of us get to experience. It’s an especially great privilege to have during the cold winter months, being able to enter a warm home after arriving from the cold outdoors. But just like any appliance in your home, your furnace has a lot of different parts and pieces that are critical to the proper functioning of the furnace. And when those parts aren’t properly working or are defective, your appliance can really struggle. 

In the case of your furnace, a flame rollout is an issue that, at best, can take away your amazing privilege of a reliably heated home, and at worst, can pose a threat to your safety and your home. And preventing that potential damage to your furnace or your home is not as difficult as it sounds. Keep reading to learn more about how a flame rollout can happen in your furnace system, what you can do to prevent it, and how Ace Hi Plumbing in Northern Colorado might be able to help.

What Causes A Furnace Flame Rollout?

When your furnace is turned on and providing heat to your home, the burners emit a steady stream of flame that is designed to be confined in the furnace’s combustion chamber. This process of combustion produces gasses that are inflammable, and when your furnace is functioning properly, these gases are exhausted through the flue passageways in the furnace’s heat exchanger and vented to the outside of your home. 

However, over an extended period of time, these narrow passageways in the heat exchanger can experience soot buildup and accumulation of rusty debris and corroded material. This buildup can constrict these passageways, and limit their ability to release this inflammable combustion gas. When this gas builds up in the chamber, either due to this constriction or a crack in the heat exchanger, it can inhibit the proper ignition of the natural gas from the burner, as well as starve the burner flame of oxygen. This can cause the flames to grow bigger and bigger in an attempt to receive oxygen, and can occasionally “roll out” of the combustion chamber.

While this flame rollout might not seem like a very big issue, it can become a serious one very fast. Your furnace is obviously designed to handle some pretty intense heat in certain areas, but a flame rollout can expose that intense heat to areas that aren’t designed for such high levels of heat or exposed flame. This flame exposure can start a fire, or potentially damage some components of your furnace, like wiring, switches, gas valves, or even the heat exchanger. And a damaged or cracked heat exchanger can allow toxic carbon monoxide gas to seep into your home.

How Do I Prevent Furnace Flame Rollouts?

Furnace flame rollouts can be very dangerous at their most extreme, so it’s pretty important to understand how best to prevent a flame rollout from occurring. The first thing to do is to make sure you can determine if your furnace is experiencing flame rollouts. One quick way you can assess a flame rollout is to look for singe marks or discoloration on the exterior of the combustion chamber of your furnace.

An incredibly important step to prevent flame rollouts is to make sure you have a functioning flame rollout switch. Your furnace should have it’s own little safety device, the flame rollout switch, that cuts off the gas supply to your furnace when the switch detects abnormally high temperatures outside the combustion chamber. While this doesn’t necessarily do much to prevent the causes of furnace flame rollouts, it can mitigate any potential damage or destruction that a flame rollout can cause.

Preventing furnace flame rollouts is more about diligence than anything. An annual checkup from your trusted local HVAC service, like Ace Hi Plumbing, allows for a professional inspection of your furnace and the heat exchanger, where an experienced HVAC professional can look for signs of potential flame rollout, and provide the required maintenance, cleaning, or repair that will make a furnace flame rollout much less likely.

Furnace Maintenance at Ace Hi Plumbing

A flame rollout in your furnace can cause a headache at best, and property damage at worse. And all it takes to limit the potential damage of a flame rollout is diligent furnace maintenance. That’s where Ace-Hi Plumbing comes in. We have been providing quality HVAC and plumbing services to the Front Range since 1996, and we are Northern Colorado’s most trusted plumbing and HVAC service. Don’t let the potential of a flame rollout ruin your furnace — call Ace Hi Plumbing today and schedule a furnace maintenance checkup today!