Gas furnaces aren't made like they used to be — today, they are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. With those changes, some older homes may run into problems with chimney damage. Here, you'll find a bit of information about how high-efficiency gas furnaces can damage the chimney in your older home.
How does the damage occur?
High-efficiency gas furnaces are designed to produce more heat without losing much of it out the chimney. This is wonderful when it comes to saving money, but it can be quite damaging to the chimney itself. You see, as the gas burns to produce the heat, it releases water into the exhaust which is carried up the chimney.
If the temperature is high enough, the water will remain in steam form as it's lifted through the chimney, but the high-efficiency furnace prevents the heat from escaping through the chimney. This allows the exhaust and moisture to cool before it rises out of the chimney. This causes the moisture to settle inside the chimney.
What problems result?
The moisture that's trapped inside the chimney can potentially cause the following problems:
Water damage may occur behind the walls and above the ceilings for quite a while before it seeps through to areas that you'll be able to see from within the home. By that point, the damage will be rather extensive and will require a lot of removal of damaged materials before repairs can be made.
Masonry damage can occur as the acids trapped in the gas exhaust coat the walls of the chimney. The chimney is more likely to become blocked as the masonry deteriorates. If this happens, the carbon monoxide will fill into your home rather than being released through the chimney.
Flue deterioration will also be a problem that causes carbon monoxide to leak into the home.
Can you prevent the damage?
The damage can be prevented by having a thorough inspection of the chimney before the new furnace is used. If the technician sees any evidence that the new furnace will cause problems with the chimney, a liner may be installed. This will give the exhaust a free-flowing escape and no masonry for it to stick to or damage.
Talk with your home heating and cooling expert before you invest in a new high-efficiency gas furnace. He or she will be able to guide you through the proper steps to take to ensure that your chimney can handle the improved efficiency of the furnace.
Contact a company like Powder River Heating & Air Conditioning Inc for more information.