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When you turn on your furnace, you expect warm air to start pumping out of your house vents. You don't expect the air to come with black dust. The presence of black dust around your furnace or coming out of the vents can indicate one of a few problems that range from minor to potentially fatal. For this reason, you should always get a professional heating and air conditioning appliance service company to examine the problem.
But here are a few of the potential causes for your own education.
Furnace Needs a Good Cleaning
Your furnace might simply need a good cleaning if the black dust is in fact just dark dust particulates. The dust could come from within the furnace itself, particularly if the air filter needs cleaning. Or the dust can come within your duct system if the ducts and the vent surfaces weren't cleaned recently.
Make sure to periodically clean out your furnace, following the manufacturer instructions in your owner's manual, and change the air filter as directed. Call in an HVAC or appliance repair company at least once a year to clean out your ducts so that you won't blow out black dust whenever you try to use either the heater or air conditioner.
Combustion Problem is Producing Soot
Touch the black dust that comes out of the furnace. Does the dust have a greasy feel when you try to smear the material? This "dust" is likely soot caused by a combustion problem within your furnace.
Check around the furnace's flue pipe or vent pipe for signs of the black dust on the ground and lining the walls of the pipe. Make sure the electricity and gas, if involved, are turned off before you check the inside of the pipe.
Do you see black dust on both the floor and inside? Your combustion system likely has a problem that is allowing your blower fan to pull smoke and soot from the burner assembly around the unit's filter and straight into your living spaces. Excess soot falls out of the system and onto the floor.
Only see the black dust in the flue or vent pipe? Call an HVAC services company to clean out the vent and fix the black dust problem.
Dangerous Carbon Monoxide Leak
If you have a gas furnace and start seeing black dust, shut down your unit immediately – including using the shutoff on the gas supply line. Call an HVAC service for an emergency evaluation since your unit might have a carbon monoxide leak, which can poison or kill you and your family.
Make the call even if you have a carbon monoxide monitor. The monitors can malfunction or your levels could remain low enough, for now, to not set off the monitor but rise in the near future.Share