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Old 10-15-2013, 09:12 AM   #1
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


Hi;
I just cleaned and oiled (the circulator pump) on my 30 yr old Natural Gas furnace. When I start the furnace, the gas flame has lots of yellow streaks and there is a rumbling in the flame, like when you have a fan blowing on a flame. This is a hot water system, so there is no forced air fan.

I noticed this last year, and the furnace ran properly all winter. I didn't think anything of it, but now am wondering whether there is a problem.
The system runs fine otherwise.

Note that when I look at the kitchen range, I also see the yellow streaking, and there is a "whipping" sound (like the rumbling in the furnace but much less intense) in the flame, like there is a lot of air blowing across the flame.

Is this something I should contact the gas utility for, or is it normal.

Thanks

FW

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Old 10-15-2013, 09:46 AM   #2
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


Sounds like air to gas ratio may be off or dirty/dusty. This can be cleaned and adjusted by a qualified tech. If you ask him nicely, he may adjust your kitchen stove as well. Sometimes the pressure regulator on your gas meter may have a bees nest, insect, etc. blocking the screened vent.

A little yellow flcker here and there is normal just as long as it has a nice healthy medium blue flame that's not lifting off the burners. But when you say it sounds like a fan blowing over the flames and a lot of yellow streaks, that's not normal and needs further investigation as to where the problem lies.

Could be other problems as well like poor drafting, venting, etc. IDK. I would call a qualified tech out to investigate, you don't want the flame to go out and have your house fill up with gas. He would know if it's a problem on your end or gas company. Stay tuned the pro's will be along shortly with more advice. Thanks.


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Old 10-15-2013, 12:20 PM   #3
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


pretty good advice from a non Pro, jmon except for the house filling with gas, there is a pilot safety /gas shut off control to prevent that. must be reading my and Beentheres posts for a few years.

all his points are correct. yellow is NEVER good as that flame is producing Carbon and soot which will plug the boiler passages and can produce CO and poison you. yellow is incomplete combustion, carbonizing flame and instead of the normal CO2 you get with a clean flame you lose one oxygen molecule and get CO Carbon monoxide. Get a Pro to check both as CO kills people and is incredibly bad for kids.
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


Thanks for your advice guys;
I am going to call the gas company. We have a service contract with them, so there probably won't be any charge for the service.

FW
Edit: Scheduled service call with gas co for today! Can't believe I could schedule so fast.
I also did a more thorough cleaning of the burner area with the vacuum. Removed all 4 tubes checked for debris - seemed to be clean but I cleaned up the floor beneath the burner area. I also checked the four gas orifices (where the tubes sit) and didn't find any blockage in any of them. When I was done, flame looked same. Lots of yellow.
Interestingly, when I blow into one of the air openings in the burner tube the flame becomes even more yellow. I wonder whether that indicates not enough gas? I cannot imagine too much air, because those slits have been wide open from day one and no one has ever changed them.

Let's see what the service guy says.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:08 PM   #5
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


Not enough gas and the flame would get lazy and flash back into the tubes on startup etc. It would also have too much air and be a very small pure blue flame. The only other condition and I doubt you get it is when it is super cold where I am they add 5-10% Propane from storage tanks to the gas to keep up with the huge demand and it will get noisy and give yellow flames and the odd person notices it. Called "peak shaving". Let us know what they find.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:18 PM   #6
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


Hey guys;
Service guy came to check out the furnace, looked at the flame, and said that the orange/yellow is caused by impurities in the air being pulled into the flame. We talked a while as the furnace ran, and after about 5-10 minutes the flame had "cleaned up" pretty well. So I guess being the first time firing it up for the season I should have let it run a bit longer.
Still, I would rather be safe than sorry, and since we have the contract, there is no charge for the service call.

FW
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:31 PM   #7
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Gas fired HW furnace rumbling w yellow streaks


Ke2kb, Glad everything worked out for you and no charge. Always better to be safe than sorry. You did the right thing. Thanks for sharing your experience with the forum. It may help someone else.

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