Purchasing an older, existing home instead of a newly built one can be a great way to save money on the cost of housing. However, if the heating system of an older house has not been recently updated, buyers will need to take some steps to make sure it is still safe and efficient to use, especially if the heat is supplied by an older gas furnace.
If you are preparing to purchase an older home equipped with an aging gas furnace or have recently done so, here are three things you need to know to ensure your family will be safe and warm during the next heating season.
1. Have a combustion analysis performed
Older gas furnaces, especially those that are at or near their expected lifespan can be at risk for the formation of cracks in the heat exchanger component. If the crack is large enough, it can allow carbon monoxide to escape when the furnace is in operation, causing a significant health and safety risk for the family.
To be sure that your home's older gas furnace is safe to operate, homeowners should have their HVAC contractor perform a combustion analysis on the system to determine if a problem exists. If any unsafe carbon monoxide levels are detected, they will be able to help you decide how to address the issue. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, home with any gas appliance should also be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they are safe for occupancy.
2. Have the ducts examined for potential issues
Another common problem found with older gas heating systems are issues with the ducts that move the heated air through the home. If these ducts have been damaged or had their configuration changed due to past home renovations, they may not be moving heated air as efficiently as possible. Older ducts can also be at risk for accumulations of dust, dirt, and even mold or other irritants and may need to be professionally cleaned to restore them to safe, efficient operation.
3. Have the fuel delivery system checked for crimps and leaks
Another issue to have checked before using an older gas furnace is the fuel delivery system. Most gas furnaces will be fed fuel from either a liquid propane tank or natural gas line, via a copper pipe and a series of fittings and valves. Over time, these can become damaged or develop tiny leaks that can lead to loss of efficiency, a risk of fire, or potentially dangerous air quality issues in and around the home. Before starting an older gas heating system for the first time, homeowners will want to have the fuel delivery system examined for any potential leaks or damage.
For more information, contact your local HVAC services.