Whether you have a wood-burning furnace to heat your entire home or supplement your main furnace, you want to make sure it stays in optimal condition so that you do not waste wood for fuel and minimize the amount of smoke and soot it produces. However, if you notice one or both of the signs below, it is probably time to replace the wood furnace.
1. Fire Burns Too Hot
One sign that there is a problem with your wood furnace is that the fire either burns too hot. When you open the access panel to put in fresh wood, the flames may still be high and the coals may seem to be a brighter red than usual.
If your furnace's fire is burning too hot, it is most likely receiving extra air from the outside of the furnace. If there are any holes in the structure of the heater, or if the baffle has collapsed, the extra air coming through the openings will fuel the fire and make it too hot.
If this continues, the wood that is burning too fast and too hot may start releasing too much soot into the chimney. And, as it burns, there is an increased risk of the furnace releasing carbon monoxide into the air. It would be better to replace the furnace before this happens.
2. Warping or Rust Damage Found on the Metal
Another sign that it is time to get rid of and replace your wood-burning furnace is when the metal casing starts to warp or rust. If the metal has started to warp, this is a strong indicator that the fire is burning way too hot for the furnace and that the heat is putting undue stress on the steel. Eventually, the warped pieces will start to pull apart at the seams, which could cause the flames to escape and increase the risk of fire.
And, if rust is found, the holes that will eventually wear through the oxidized metal will allow too much air to feed the fire. The rusted panels could also become so weak that the weight of the wood could cause them to collapse, spreading fire and coal throughout the area.
If you notice either of the above signs, your furnace is most likely no longer safe to burn without risking a fire or increasing the risk of carbon monoxide being released into the air. Contact a business that deals with wood-burning furnaces to see about replacing it once you believe it has come to the end of its life