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What causes a yellow flame in a furnace? This question often zips through the minds of many property owners when they notice a change from the standard blue flame to a bright yellow. In this detailed guide, we’ll discuss the normal furnace flame hue, what different color furnace flames mean, why furnaces experience yellow flames, and troubleshooting advice. We’ll also cover why you must never ignore yellow flames in your appliance.
After learning more about furnace flame colors and their significance, connect with the team at Georgia Air Cooling & Heating for an immediate service appointment. Our team supplies expert furnace repair in Richmond Hill, GA, and can assist you with a yellow or orange furnace flame.
The Normal Color of Furnace Flames
When things work as they should, your furnace should produce blue flames, either completely blue or with small amounts of yellow. Anything else typically suggests something wrong with your furnace and indicates you may need professional assistance from a heating expert. Blue flames tell you that the full process of combustion has occurred without a problem, as the bluest flames indicate maximum efficiency.
Although we rely on furnaces and boilers to keep us warm, continuing to operate them with a huge problem not only proves costly but can also become dangerous.
During the typical combustion process, fuel completely burns with enough oxygen, getting to the hottest temperature that achieves the ideal blue color. While yellow or orange flames are hot, they suggest incomplete combustion, no matter what causes the process to partially stop.
Furnace Flame Colors and What They Mean
The colors of your furnace flames stem from how much heat they produce and your furnace’s efficiency. The goal is to have your furnace use the appropriate amount of energy without wasting any. If your fuel source contains chemicals and resins, you could also have yellow flames.
Let’s review the most popular flame colors you can see with your furnace and what they mean:
- Blue. This is the normal color your furnace flames should remain at unless something is wrong. Blue flames occur after the full combustion process. They burn the hottest and might have traces of other colors, but the majority of the flame should stay blue.
- Yellow. Yellow flames occur when flames are not hot enough and full combustion didn’t complete. These flames also come with the presence of carbon monoxide, in which even slight exposure can have major consequences. Yellow flames are a serious worry.
- Orange. Similar to yellow, orange flames may also reveal incomplete combustion for your furnace and could show that sodium is present in your fuel source. Burning some wood types can produce orange flames, or they can come from partial combustion soot.
In short, yellow or orange furnace flames tell you that you need repair or replacement services, while blue indicates things work fine.
Reasons That Your Furnace Flames Are Yellow
You’ll find a few common causes of yellow flame concerns, but working with an experienced professional can help resolve them. Cleaning your furnace and its key components allows your system to remain in good shape and carry out combustion as normal. It will also improve its safety.
Understanding why your furnace flames are yellow can help you determine the best course of action to take. However, simply calling a reliable service technician in your area for immediate help is always a good idea. Consider the following main reasons for a yellow furnace flame:
Inefficient or Partial Combustion
What causes a yellow flame in a furnace? The most popular reason for combustion issues results from an uneven amount of air and fuel. You can have too much or too little of either, resulting in an unsuccessful combustion process that releases dangerous carbon monoxide into the air.
The lack of air leads to carbon monoxide building up and traveling throughout your property. It only takes a little while for your body to feel the effects, and you might not even know that it’s present. This situation stresses the urgency of resolving a yellow flame and carbon monoxide issue.
You might need to introduce more oxygen so your furnace can complete combustion and not have its flames turn a strange color. Consider when you last cleaned your furnace, as dirt may hinder combustion or block access to fuel or oxygen. If that doesn’t work, something else is wrong.
A Declining Furnace
Some furnace flame problems stem from a struggling or outdated system. Your furnace’s age and condition are the potential reasons for faulty flame colors or other problems you might have noticed with your appliance. If your furnace is 10+ years old and struggling to operate, you likely need to consider scheduling a replacement consultation, especially if the cost of repairs adds up to half or exceeds the total cost of what you would spend on a new unit.
Scheduling a furnace inspection before the winter can help you address issues in their early stages before they become a major and costly problem. Maintenance and inspections provide some of the best ways to tackle inefficient furnaces or to ensure your system is operating safely.
Troubleshooting a Yellow Flame Furnace: What You Can Do
Since yellow flames often stem from partial combustion, you can help your system by encouraging the process. While this isn’t always the issue, we recommend carrying out these steps since doing them can’t hurt. Instead, they may encourage your furnace to work in optimal condition.
Some of our most trusted tips for maximum furnace safety and addressing a yellow flame in your furnace include the following:
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your property and routinely changing the batteries
- Replacing or cleaning your HVAC filter to avoid clogs and ensure the proper filtration of contaminants
- Having a good relationship with your local HVAC company that you can call in an emergency
- Thoroughly cleaning your furnace’s gas valve, flue, and gas stove to remove dust, dirt, and debris
- Adjusting the air shutter to see if it currently blocks the proper combustion process
- Providing your furnace with increased ventilation
- Ensuring you have an appropriate amount of gas pressure
Any appliance in your home or business that uses natural gas comes with a risk, but understanding more about your system can help you operate it safely and efficiently. Following the recommendations of your local service professional is also helpful. They can provide their expert knowledge and suggest the proper frequency for furnace cleaning and filter replacement or complete these tasks through their HVAC maintenance services.
If you’ve attempted all the above tips but can’t seem to resolve the yellow flames, leave the work to the professionals. Residents in Richmond Hill, Georgia, often turn to Georgia Air Cooling & Heating, and you can too! We’re happy to help and have extensive heating service experience.
Why Yellow Flames Are Too Dangerous To Ignore
Yellow flames do more than reveal your furnace’s combustion inefficiency; they can show the production of carbon monoxide, which is extremely dangerous to leave unaddressed. Carbon monoxide has no odor, taste, or color, making it hard to detect until it seriously affects you. Some of the most severe consequences of carbon monoxide exposure include the following:
- Nausea and confusion
If you don’t feel comfortable trying to get rid of yellow furnace flames or don’t know where to begin, that’s okay! You can always contact a reputable heating system expert in your area for an immediate resolution. If you or someone on your property start to experience any of the above systems, seek immediate medical attention, exit the premises, and call for assistance in tackling your gas leak or carbon monoxide issue.
Schedule Reliable Furnace Repair or Replacement Services With Georgia Air Cooling & Heating in Richmond Hill, Georgia!
We hope you now have a greater understanding of “What causes a yellow flame in a furnace?” and understand some steps to take if your furnace light appears yellow or orange. You can also check out our blog for helpful HVAC topics, such as lubricating your furnace blower motor. Our company hopes to educate property owners, help them resolve common heating and cooling topics, and share our knowledge.
Our business has provided the Richmond Hill area with superior heating and cooling services for years and remains the best pick in the region for excellent customer service, fair pricing, and unmatched reliability. Book a service appointment online and see how Georgia Air Cooling & Heating can meet your needs. You can also call us at (912) 513-3741 to chat with a member of our staff about your property’s HVAC needs.
When you need furnace services, call Georgia Air Cooling & Heating in Richmond Hill, GA, at (912) 513-3741 for an appointment!