It’s that time of year again… when we start using our residential furnaces pretty regularly. These are reliable heating systems and serve as a great defense against the chilly temperatures we get in the winter. Of course, when you use your heater, you want a certain peace of mind. You want to know that your furnace is going to work reliably, efficiently, powerfully, and most importantly, safely. Read on as we talk about furnace safety and whether or not you should be scheduling furnace services right now.
The Importance of Furnace Safety
Perhaps you’re wondering why furnace safety is so important, but we don’t really talk that much about air conditioner safety, or air filter safety. We get it, these are all home comfort systems and components, so shouldn’t you worry about the safety of all of them?
This is a reasonable question, but the difference between these systems is in how they operate–what fuels them. For most furnace owners, their fuel is coming from their natural gas line. This means that their heating system uses combustion gases to heat the home. This process creates a whole host of fumes that can be dangerous, if the heater is not well-maintained.
This includes, for example, carbon monoxide (CO), which is invisible to the naked eye, and can be quite harmful if you and your family are exposed to too much of it. This said, it’s vital that in addition to learning about furnace safety, you have CO detectors installed in your home along with your smoke detectors!
What Can Go Wrong with Furnace Safety?
A gas-powered furnace has a component within it that’s called a heat exchanger. This is a metal chamber that is often welded together in a clamshell type fashion. The heat exchanger keeps fumes inside while exchanging heat with the air that blows over it, to bring that heated air inside your home. This process allows you to get effective and efficient heat without being exposed to fumes.
However, in an aging or damaged furnace, the heat exchanger can become cracked, and when this happens it can allow those fumes to leak into your space. The best way to combat this is by scheduling routine professional maintenance, as this is one of the many components our team checks on during your tune-ups. If you haven’t already scheduled this service for fall, now is the perfect time to do so!
“Is There Anything Else I Can Do?”
Yes! In addition to scheduling annual furnace maintenance, there are a couple of small maintenance tasks you can do on your own to ensure furnace safety. The first is changing out the air filter. This keeps dust, dirt, and other debris that can overload the furnace and cause it to overheat from getting inside. When it’s too clogged though, it can restrict airflow and cause harm anyway. Be sure to change the filter every 1-3 months.
The other step you can take is to clear the space around your furnace by about 2 feet on each side and ensure no flammable materials are near it at all.