3 Reasons Your Furnace Is Rusting

image of rust inside a furnace

Rust never slumbers. This is true concerning your home heating system as well. You may think that rust is only something to think about in humid areas. However, simply using your furnace as designed can create the perfect conditions for rust to form.

Your furnace creates temperature imbalances within the system. These imbalances can lead to rust in furnace, leading to a shortened life of your furnace and heating system.

Well, what about never using the furnace? Unfortunately, that is not an option for those who live in a cold climate. Eventually, you are going to have to turn the furnace on, and, at some point, rust will eventually become a problem. The development of rust in a furnace is quite common. However, you can prolong its onset. In this article, we will examine some of the most frequent causes of this heating issue.

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Why Is My Furnace Rusting?

If your heating system has rust, professionals can usually spot the problem quickly. It is typically caused by one or more of the following three things.

Water Leaks Or High Humidity

The first likely cause is humidity, or how much water vapor is in the air. Much of this depends on where you live. Some places are just more humid than others. You can’t do much about that.

Making matters worse, your home may be adding to the humidity problem. Professionals typically point the finger at water leaks as the prime culprit in these cases.

A Leaky Air Conditioner

image of an air conditioner condenser

Next, the heating system itself may be an issue. Specifically, a water leak may come from the air conditioning unit. The air conditioning system generates water as a by-product.

With modern centralized units, air conditioners are directly integrated into the furnace ductwork. Any leaks from the air conditioning system drip straight into the heating system. This, of course, adds to the humidity problem. It also creates pools of standing water where they are least wanted.

Furnace Exhaust Issues

Finally, when the heating system creates heat during normal operation, this can lead to humidity issues. This is because the hot air exits the burner and cools down when it enters the room. Any moisture in the warm air can then condense during cooling and add to existing humidity.

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Will My Furnace Develop Rust Too?

The short answer is yes. Your furnace will eventually build rust. It may take a hundred years, but the furnace will eventually succumb to rust. However, you can postpone that day. The most important thing is to be vigilant and take maintenance seriously.

Avoiding Furnace Rust

Here are some ways you can prevent the buildup of rust in your furnace.

Annual Furnace Maintenance

image of a furnace technician tuning up furnace hvac system

Be sure to schedule your annual furnace maintenance inspection. This is the first line of defense against rust. Inspections are reasonably-priced.

They are certainly cheaper in the long run than replacing the entire heating system. When you get an annual inspection, the HVAC contractor will look for rust and make sure that your furnace is safe and in good working condition.

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Clogged Burner Jets

Rust itself will eventually impede the functioning of your system. Clogged burner jets do not perform as well as clean ones. They also use more fuel to generate the same quantity of heat. Even worse, this inefficient burning is a major risk factor for producing dangerous levels of highly toxic carbon monoxide gas.


A Danger To Fuel Supply Lines

Rust is a major hazard for your fuel supply lines. The risk here is highly significant and should not be ignored. Problems with the fuel supply lines can lead to fire or even explosion.

You’ve probably seen shocking footage of burned-out homes. If not handled properly, that could happen to your home.

This risk is the most significant problem with having a rusted furnace. It’s not just unsightly orange streaks on the furnace exterior.

It is the very real danger of fire and explosion damaging or destroying your family home. By the time those streaks appear on the outside of the furnace, the inside may be completely ruined.

Repair Furnace Issues Promptly

image of furnace technician maintaining heating unit

The best thing to do is to rigorously maintain your yearly inspection schedule. The next best thing is to make sure any furnace issues are fixed as soon as possible. Annual inspections will reveal the reason you may have a rust buildup.

Make sure to take care of whatever is causing the HVAC problem as much as you can. Once you find the causes, then you can repair whatever parts of the system are damaged.

You may find that your system simply can’t be salvaged. Too much damage has taken place. Or that the cost of furnace repairs may not be completely worth it. Older systems are often not going to be as efficient as newer systems. You will have to consult with a professional to understand what the trade-offs of repair versus replacement are.

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Expert Professional Advice Is There For You

Not everyone has the same circumstances. Talk with an HVAC contractor. You will learn what your options are and what is the best cost-benefit ratio for you.

Remember that preventing rust in the first place gives you many more options. If your system has rusted over, you have fewer choices about what to do. At that point, you may even have only a single option – replacing the entire unit for safety reasons.

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