Did you know that 9/10 house fires in Winters are caused by heating appliances? Gas fired Furnaces and Water Heaters are widely used today in Canadian homes. It is, therefore, important that homeowners know about the issues that should be taken seriously. One of them is the gas burner leaks. How can a common homeowner get to know that his gas burner is leaking? Before we learn about that, learn about the importance of fresh air for the heating appliances.

Why does heating appliances need fresh air?

It is your home actually that needs a constant supply of fresh air else it causes back drafting which is a super serious condition that pulls residual gases back into the indoor. In order to check whether or not your home is having a sufficient supply of fresh air, do this;

Close all windows and doors and turn on all exhaust fans of your home. Then turn up Furnace, Water Heater or any other gas vented appliance that you want to test. Holding either an incense stick or a lit matchstick, go to the air intake of the burner draft hood. If the smoke resulting from the incense stick/matchstick goes up inside in the hood, congratulations! your home has a sufficient supply of fresh air, however, if the inverse happens, i.e the smoke is blown away from the hood, you could be experiencing back drafting. Call a professional immediately to fix the problem.

What to do if you suspect a gas leak?

There are many ways you can suspect a gas leak. One has been mentioned above but the other most simple way to suspect a gas leak is the smell. You can easily differentiate between any other types of indoor odours and the gas leak odour. Once you smell it whether close to a Gas Furnace or a Gas Water Heater, here's what you are supposed to do;

- Rush outside! You have no idea what quantity of gas has already been leaked. So just turn off any electrical connections and quickly rush outside

- Call an emergency service to suspect the leaks in detail and fix them

- If you know where the main gas valve is located and find the time to shut it off, do shut it off as soon as the gas leaks are suspected

What are the right colours for burner flame?

When we started, we talked right in the beginning about the importance of the fresh air that the home and the heating appliances should be getting and only then they can perform with the expected optimal efficiency. In order to maintain a balance between gas & air for the burner, the burner should be producing a levelled amount of gas and should also be getting the sufficient amount of fresh air. When both these supplies are just right, you will see a blue burner flame which is soft-edged while a light green inner flame. However, when the air supply is deficient the burner flame will be having a yellow tip and a lazy inner flame. In case of too much air supply, a blue flame with sharp outlines can be observed with a hard-edged inner flame. Find the balance and keep yourself and your family safe. Also, don't forget to call an HVAC professional once every year for a safety inspection.

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