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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

Rust on Your Furnace: What It Means

At first glance, it seems like it couldn’t happen. Your furnace generates heat and it doesn’t use water to do it. So how can rust show up on an operating furnace? In point of fact, rusty furnaces are not entirely uncommon. If you have rust on your furnace, it helps to know what it means before you contact your local  McLean, VA furnace repair service.

Rust is caused by the intermingling of water, oxygen and metal in a process called oxidation. In order for that to happen, all three elements need to be involved. Furnaces use oxygen for the burning process and their metal components are self-evident. So the question becomes, how does water enter the system?

If your furnace is in a damp part of the house such as a basement, then water can creep in from an outside source: dripping from a leaking pipe, for example, or gathering from a breach in the wall. But that’s not the only place it can happen. The natural gases used to fuel the furnace can contain trace amounts of water vapor. When the gases burn, the toxic components separate from the rest of the gases in the heat exchanger and are vented safely out of your home.  This includes water vapor, but if the vapor cools before it exits the flue, it can condense and cause rust damage.

The effects can’t be seen right away and may take years to manifest, but when they arise, they are devastating. Rust will corrode and destroy the metal in your furnace, forcing you to replace the affected components at great cost. In the case of the heat exchangers, rust can create actively dangerous circumstances, since a broken heat exchanger could result in toxic gases being released into your home. If you spot rust on your furnace, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to get it fixed. We can replace the rusty component as well as correcting the problems that created the rust n the first place. Give us a call today to set up your McLean, VA furnace repair service.

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