Why You Should Be Concerned About Flame Rollout

Posted On: October 16, 2018


Proper maintenance for your healthy furnace significantly reduces safety concerns. However, if you skimp on your routine furnace maintenance, you have an older system, or if you notice any odd sounds or issues with your furnace, there is a serious risk of something going wrong. Flame rollout is one such concern.

Flame rollout sounds scary, and indeed your home is at risk if a rollout occurs. Many homeowners have not heard about flame rollouts. You may not even know they are happening. This article explains what a flame rollout is and how you can prevent danger caused by flame rollouts in your furnace.

What Is Flame Rollout?

Flame rollout is when flames rollout of the combustion chamber of your furnace. Rollout is caused by the combination of gases and flames present when the furnace is in operation. When the furnace is on, flames ignite and are meant to remain inside the combustion chamber. In some cases, gases which are not flammable will build inside the chamber, which prevents oxygen from getting to the flames.

The buildup of gases is largely due to the buildup of soot, which prevents the gases from leaving the chamber. As these inflammable gases build, they block the flame from the oxygen it requires. When oxygen cannot get to the flame, the fire has to work harder and get bigger to get oxygen. When the flames get too large, they will then rollout of the combustion chamber.

Another possible cause of flame rollouts is a blocked flue pipe. The gases cannot escape outside when the flue pipe is clogged, leaving the gases to remain inside the chamber. Gas buildup can also occur when there is a crack in the heat exchanger.

What Are the Signs of Flame Rollout?

There are some signature signs to look for if you suspect flame rollout. The easiest sign to look for is evidence of burns or discoloration outside of the furnace combustion chamber. You can also watch your furnace and hope to see the rollout happen with your own eyes.

What Dangers Exist With Flame Rollout?

A flame rollout inside your furnace poses many risks to your HVAC system and your home. If flame rollout is outside of the combustion chamber, the interior components of the rest of the furnace will overheat. Furnaces are only designed to take so much heat, and the system can completely fail if it gets too hot. The entire system could catch fire in extreme circumstances, resulting in severe damage to your entire home.

If the flame rollout is due to a cracked heat exchanger, you and your family could be in more immediate danger. A cracked heat exchanger may lead to a carbon monoxide leak, which is deadly.

What Can You Do to Prevent Flame Rollout?

Furnaces have a safety component that will detect when a flame rollout occurs — the flame rollout switch. This switch stops the supply of gas to the furnace if the temperature outside the combustion chamber exceeds a certain level.

However, the best way to prevent the risk of a flame rollout in the first place is regular and routine HVAC and furnace maintenance. You should have your entire system inspected at least annually. Some professionals recommend bi-annual inspections, typically just before major weather changes. Regular inspection will catch any potential issues before they occur.

When it comes to your furnace, you can never be too careful. We at C.B. Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning want to make sure you and your family is safe and comfortable this winter season and all year long. Please let us know if you need any assistance or maintenance on your HVAC system.

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