For the most part, areas generally experiencing very cold temperatures in the United States are getting a bit of a respite right now. In fact, many Northeastern states have seen temperatures in the 60’s recently. Do not let this little Indian Summer fool you, though, because you know colder temperatures are coming and when they do, your furnace will be working overtime to keep your home warm.
A furnace flue requires much the same care, maintenance, and cleaning as a fireplace flue. Whether you are burning oil or gas, there is the danger of buildup, which could cause a fire. Here are a few points to consider specifically for gas and oil furnace flues.
When oil burns, it will create a soot buildup within the flue. Even a small buildup creates a dangerous situation and could lead to a fire. This is something that should be cleaned and inspected once a year. Do not make the mistake in thinking the oil company will do this for you. In all likelihood, they may do some small maintenance tasks, such as cleaning debris from visible venting or connecting pipes, but they do not clean the inside of the flue.
One of the main dangers other than buildup for a gas-burning furnace is structural integrity. Obviously, a gas leak can be extremely dangerous. If you notice the smell of gas at any time, call in a professional to inspect all of your furnace equipment. Just like an oil furnace flue, you should schedule an annual cleaning and inspection regardless of use once a year.
Do not make the mistake in thinking that just because you are not burning wood, you will not have a buildup in you flue. Oil and gas will both create residue over time. Neglect and lack of regular maintenance to the furnace is extremely dangerous. Homeowners are best served to schedule their inspections and cleanings just prior to winter use to ensure they are safe to operate.