August 20, 2023

What Happens If Your Furnace Exhaust Is Blocked?

what happens if furnace exhaust is blocked

Keep your ventilation system in check with Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating’s heating maintenance experts in Coral Springs, FL. Call 754-238-0908 to schedule services.

Although Florida winters are relatively mild, you still have to maintain a warm home when temperatures dip. Like most homeowners, you probably rely on a central furnace to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures throughout cooler seasons. But what happens if your furnace exhaust is blocked? 

Your furnace exhaust vent could make or break your heating operations. At Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating, our team examines how the vent works and what to do to keep it clear. Read on to learn more! 

What Is the Furnace Exhaust?

If your furnace runs on gas, it features a furnace flue or exhaust vent. This vent allows toxic fumes from the gas to escape without infiltrating your home. It starts at the furnace and releases the fumes via a pipe. Your home’s chimney may also serve as the release. 

How Does the Furnace Exhaust Become Blocked?

Most flues feature a screen that prevents debris from getting lodged inside it. If the screen sustains damage, it may allow detritus to collect in the exhaust vent. Therefore, professional HVAC technicians should occasionally inspect and clean the pipes.

Small animals may still find their way inside, creating nests for their offspring, since the pipe’s quiet solitude offers a tempting place to raise their young. Rodents could chew through the screen to access its shelter. The nests and fur could also create a vent clog.   

What Happens if Your Furnace Exhaust Is Blocked?

Most of the time, a blocked vent could result in noticeable issues during your furnace’s heating cycles. Some of these problems include:

  • Short cycling: Your furnace will begin a cycle before shutting off prematurely. Changing the thermostat temperature settings may trigger the furnace to start cycling again, but cycles never last long enough to produce results.
  • No heat throughout a cycle: Although your furnace may make sounds that indicate operation, it won’t produce any heat. No thermostat changes will improve how your home’s air feels. 
  • Foul odors: When you turn on your furnace for the first time in months, you might detect strange smells coming from your vents. These smells are normal. But a blocked vent forces combustion gasses into your home, which create smells no matter how often you use the furnace.  
  • Overheating components: Certain parts, like the cover panel, will steadily overheat. The airflow in the vent can’t pull the ignition flame away from the furnace, causing it to warm up significantly.
  • Complete system shutdown: These issues will typically lead to a complete system shutdown. You’ll need assistance from an HVAC technician to clean the vent and restart the system. 

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Besides practical issues like discomfort and a malfunctioning furnace, what happens if your furnace exhaust is blocked? The final warning sign is the most dangerous of them all. 

The flue provides an outlet for exchanging gasses, including carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can have devastating effects on plants, animals, and people. You also won’t notice its presence in your home without a detection system. 

Some common symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include:

  • Dull, unceasing headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eventual unconsciousness

If you own pets, you may notice they exhibit similar symptoms. Any plants within the vicinity of the carbon monoxide source will rapidly wilt and die in tandem.  

What You Should Do

If you suspect your exhaust vent developed a blockage, don’t attempt to fix it on your own. Instead, use the following guide to keep you, your family, and your home safe:

  1. Open the windows and doors to allow the toxic gas to escape. 
  2. Turn your furnace off. 
  3. Call first responders if your family members exhibited signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  4. Contact your trusted emergency HVAC technicians to assess the situation. 
  5. Wait until the technicians give you the signal to enter your home again.

If you haven’t already, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. They could save your life if your furnace exhaust vent becomes clogged. 

Let Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating Handle Dangerous HVAC Issues

What happens if your furnace exhaust is blocked? Gasses that would otherwise never pose a threat could infiltrate your home and have lethal consequences. If you suspect your flue developed a blockage, don’t wait to call the HVAC technicians at Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating.

Choose Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating for quality heating repair and maintenance at your fingertips. Call 754-238-0908 to book services with us.