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Why Is My Furnace Flue Pipe Rusting?

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One of the hardest things to upkeep in a home is pipework. For most of us, like plumbing, pipework is usually kept out of sight, out of mind…. Until something breaks and needs to be repaired, that is.

Among the issues that plague the pipes of heating and ventilation systems, one of the most common is rust damage. If left unattended, rust on your flue pipes and exhaust pipes can cost you a lot of  time and money due to any corrosion complications and necessary repair work.

Surface flue pipes or exhaust pipes can rust due to a variety of household factors. Maybe your house is extremely humid due to your houseplants, or perhaps you have a plumbing leak that you have left unattended.

Any of these environmental factors can compromise the integrity of your flue pipe and cause rusting to begin. Learn more about why furnace flue pipes rust, and the effects you need to watch out for if you leave flue pipe rusting unattended.

Why Do Surface Flue Pipes Rust?

Like any fixture, utility, or piece of furniture in our home, flue or exhaust pipes can degrade if not cared for properly. While some steps can be taken to address any rusting that has already begun, the best way to maintain the integrity of your heating and exhaust pipes is still early prevention.

Try to look out for these environmental triggers in your home so that you can prevent rusting or slow down its progression.

Extreme Humidity

While Portland has moderate humidity levels most days, unexpected weather conditions can quickly change a pleasant morning into a muggy and humid afternoon. This is why protecting your home from outside elements with appropriate weatherproofing is important.

That being said, internal factors for humidity do exist.

This can come in the form of poor draining systems that leave bath or laundry rooms damp well after a shower or a laundry load has finished. However, it can also come in the form of an overabundance of indoor house plants.

Prevent internal factors from causing humidity by acquiring a dehumidifier for your home or by spacing out your house plants and placing them in locations with good ventilation and sunlight.

Plumbing or Roof Leaks

The inner workings of a home can sometimes be intimidating. However, getting to know the condition of your home is good practice so you know what you need to do to address issues and maintain your home.

Whether you are buying or renting a home to live in, take care to inspect the roof of your new home for any holes or rusting. Make sure to repair or seal these leaks off as they may begin to drip over the furnace area and cause rusting.

The same can be said for plumbing. Make sure to check the plumbing pipes that run from your water closets, tubs, sinks, and showers.

These pipes run the length of your home through ceilings and behind the walls. Should these begin to leak close to or above your furnace, the water damage can begin to rust the flue pipe without you knowing.

Cooling Systems

Just as how we need a heating system to stay warm during fall and winter in Portland, we also need an AC to stay cool during the sweltering summers!

However, AC systems are often installed very close to your heating systems for easy monitoring and maintenance by you or your provider. If your home is like most wherein these two are located close to each other, you should always check if the AC system’s condensate is leaking onto the furnace.

Avoid lasting damage by regularly checking on your AC system and making sure that the condensation does not trickle into the flue pipe!

What are the Effects of Rust on Your Pipework?

Aside from being extremely unflattering for your home, rust on your pipe systems can be dangerous if you do not contact quality furnace repair services in Portland to sort it out. Left unattended, rusted furnace and exhaust pipes can cause the following side effects in your home or building.

Decreased Efficiency

When it comes to heating services, your furnace and heating pipework is the main highway for delivering heat to all the areas of your home. However, rust can cause a decrease in efficiency when coursing heating through the home as the quality of your pipes degrade.

Depending on the type of heating you have in your home, this decrease in efficiency can also mean you burn more fuel or electricity than you should for the amount of heating you are supplying to your home.

Another sign of decreased efficiency could be uneven heating. If you notice any cold spots in your home despite knowing that the heating is on, don’t bust out the sage just yet.

Are cold spots an eerie supernatural experience? Probably not. A need for flue pipe and furnace maintenance is far more likely!

Chances are your heater is struggling to do its job efficiently, so it is best to call on your heater provider to confirm the cause.

Gas Leak Risks

It is always good to keep any eye out for any signs of corrosion on your furnace exhaust pipe. However, advanced states of rust on your furnace flue pipe can pose great risk for gas leaks.

Gas leaks can pose a threat for various reasons. Some gasses can be combustible, and put you and your family at high risk for a house fire. On the other hand, there are gasses that are highly toxic when breathed in. For all you know, you and your loved ones have been slowly breathing in toxic fumes.

Pay close attention to any strange odors from pipes and vents, as well as any inexplicable symptoms like dizziness or difficulty breathing if you know that your pipes have begun to rust.

Your family may have been exposed to the most common type of fume poisoning that compromised furnaces can cause, which is carbon monoxide poisoning. This is especially alarming, as carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless.

Compromised Electricals

It is common knowledge that the best material for conducting electricity is metal. However, the integrity of metal must be taken into account!

Unlike clean metal, rust can cause insulation instead of conduction. This can pose serious risks, such as issues with air circulation, heating system malfunctions, or even electrical fire hazards in your home.

Unplanned Expenses

Once rust has caused damage, its effects cannot be reversed. The appearance of rust CAN be minimized with some chemical solutions and abrasive equipment, but the integrity of your flue pipe is likely to stay compromised.

This can translate into unplanned expenses.

Home owners that let the corrosion on their furnace exhaust pipe go unattended may have to pay for repairs over and over. On the other hand, renters that don’t address the rusting or flag it with their landlord may have to say goodbye to their security deposit.

You may also find yourself spending more due to the compromised efficiency of your heating system. Make the most of your money by making sure your furnace exhaust pipes and other heating system parts are in pristine working order.

How Do I Prevent the Rusting of my Flue Pipe?

Because heating and cooling systems are so intricate, it would be unwise for untrained professionals to fiddle with them on their own. At most, home owners and care takers can do some surface-level inspection around the home or building.

Look out for some of the telltale signs that something is wrong with the exhaust system, such as bad or burnt odors, uneven heating, or strange noises. You can also check if there are any watermarks on the ceilings and walls surrounding your furnace pipes, as these can indicate that they have suffered water damage – which can lead to severe rust problems.

However, the most responsible and effective solution you could take would be to schedule in-depth maintenance and inspection.

Get in Touch with the Pros

Whether you need some serious repairs done to your furnace or simply want to take preventative measures, the best course of action would be to get in touch with a trusted heating and cooling provider based in the Portland area.

Check in with their team to schedule an inspection of your furnace, so you can decide if you just need minor repairs and maintenance work or want a complete overhaul by replacing your furnace altogether.

By leaving it to the professionals at the Sunset Heating & Cooling Company, you can count on a century’s worth of professional experience to guide their decisions and recommendations. On top of this, their topnotch customer service and fair, flat-rate pricing will make any transaction feel like a breeze.

Whether you are a long-time resident of the Portland area or a newcomer that is just starting to settle, you can extend the lifespan of your furnace pipes and save some money on the side by taking some preventative measures.

Call today at (503) 500-5866

Get in touch with us today for emergency assistance and urgent inquiries, or schedule an appointment for the future. Our team of qualified experts and professionals are available 24/7 to provide remote support and recommendations or conduct emergency servicing!

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