What Should You Know About Burner Maintenance On Your Furnace?

A lot goes into maintaining a typical home heating system, but it's an effort that's worthwhile over the long run. Maintaining your furnace keeps it running at peak efficiency while minimizing the likelihood of unexpected and premature parts failures. A well-maintained furnace may even last years longer than one that's poorly maintained or neglected.

One key component of furnace maintenance involves removing, inspecting, and cleaning the burners. This guide will provide you with an in-depth look at these components and why maintaining them is crucial to keeping your furnace running as it should.

How Your Burners Work

Combustion in your furnace requires two key components: fuel and air. These components must arrive in the correct amounts to ensure a clean, even, and efficient burn. Common signs of poor and inefficient burns are flickering or yellow/orange-colored flames. In addition to heating less efficiently, weak burns can lead to severe problems such as flame rollout.

Your burners are the last destination for fuel and air, mixing them before delivering the mixture to the igniter. As a result, your burners must provide a relatively pure air and natural gas mixture to the combustion chamber. Contamination in this mixture can weaken the flame, generate extra soot and debris, or even cause the fire to hunt for extra fuel and expand beyond a safe size.

Why Burners Need Cleaning

A variety of contaminants may build up on your burners over time. While your air filter should stop most debris from entering your furnace, dust can still sometimes enter the combustion chamber and cause issues. Additionally, poor or incomplete burns can be a self-reinforcing problem. The weak flame produces more soot, clogging the burners and making the situation worse.

Rust is another potential threat to your burners. Although your furnace might not seem like a damp place, it's crucial to remember that your furnace pulls in air from its surroundings or the outside environment. Over time, this can result in rust developing on internal components, including your furnace burners.

What You Can Do About Dirty Burners

The good news is that dirty burners are a maintenance problem and not necessarily an issue that requires repair. If you're handy with tools, you can remove and clean your burners yourself, but you should make sure to do it at least once per year. However, cleaning your burners is just one task of many included in any typical annual furnace maintenance visit.

If you want to ensure your furnace remains in good repair for many years, scheduling an annual check-up with a local HVAC contractor is often the best approach. A technician will inspect and clean your burners, in addition to giving your entire system the attention it needs to run cleanly, efficiently, and safely.