would there be any lead-based coatings inside a gas furnace or flue?
I have an old Holly (like Williams) gas forced air wall furnace and recently I noticed a small pile of flakes in the vent at the top of the unit, below the blower. I assume this is probably the flue vent. The flakes are rusty on one side and sort of dull metallic silver-grey on the other and they instantly turn to dust when touched. There's also a lot of dark colored dust around them.
I've been chasing this question around on a few other forums and have gotten some help, but no one has really pinned down what the nature of my problem is, so I thought I'd ask here. I've had suggestions about it ranging from "silver paint" to soot flakes.
I guess the simplest question I have relates to whether there is any possibility that the flakes I describe below would have any lead content. The reason I'm worried about them is that they are silvery on one side, which suggests some kind of coating from the inside of the vent or flue. Can anyone suggest what this coating might be or does this really just seem like soot (in which case, why would it be silvery on one side?). Do you think it's a galvanizing coating, and would something like that contain any lead or not?
The proximity of the flakes and dust to the intake blower is what concerns me. This could have been accumulating for years, so God forbid if a bunch of lead dust got sucked in and blown all over my living room during that time. BTW, I haven't used the heater since discovering this.
Unfortunately, it looks like these Williams-type wall furnaces have no filter. I can only guess at the age of the furnace but it looks '60's.
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
BTW, I realize this means the furnace and/or flue should be looked at by a professional, but this is a rental and the landlord will have to handle that. I'm just trying to settle the lead question before I decide how I have to approach clean-up, and also decide whether I ever want to risk using this heater again, even if it gets professionally checked out.
Last edited by Dave Perry; 05-13-2010 at 08:42 PM.