There will always be some debate over the use of gas furnaces vs. wood burning stove. The fact is that both offer advantages and they serve the same function. One difference between the two is that users sometimes get the wrong idea about maintaining chimneys connected to gas furnaces. It is common knowledge that burning wood produces a flammable substance called creosote. While this is not an issue with gas furnaces, it does not mean the flue does not need regular inspection and cleaning.
One of the chief reasons why homeowners choose gas over wood is that is burns cleanly. As clean as it is, it still has an impact on the space that contains the fire and channels the smoke upwards. Using your gas furnace causes the release of water vapors which can have a negative effect on the metal of the flue. Chlorides from the air circulating in the home also get pulled into these vapors. Eventually this will form hydrochloric acid which can significantly erode the lining of the flue over time.
Any damage to your flue can affect the way it operates and therefore pose a risk every time you use your gas furnace. The flue can become warped or it can develop cracks after extended periods of regular use. These are flaws that a qualified chimney sweep can detect quickly. In warm months when you don’t need to use the furnace, it can become an attractive nesting spot for small animals. This can create a dangerous blockage in the flue, and you might not be aware of it until you attempt to use the furnace. Using a cap will help prevent the problem of birds and rodents using it as a nest.
One common problem with flues for both gas furnaces and wood stoves is debris getting inside. If you do not have a cap on your chimney, leaves and other windblown objects can get blown in. This can build up to the point where the flue fails to vent smoke and gases properly. This can be extremely hazardous when you use your furnace.
A chimney expert can detect flaws in your flue’s design which can slow the venting of gases from your furnace. For example the flue pipes may be too small, or the system may have too many elbows which can decrease efficiency. So never take the flue of your gas furnace for granted. Give it the same attention as you would a flue connected to a wood burning fireplace or stove, and talk to your chimney sweep about the best maintenance schedule.
You should have your chimney inspected and consult with a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified professional about the best options for repairing any damage and adding preventative measures for the future life of your chimney. Both of the licensed and insured chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA certified with experience dealing with common chimney problems as well as some more complex issues that homeowners may face with their chimney. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney problems and we’ll help you get a handle on any mold issues you may have in the chimney as well.