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Ace Hardware Home Services Blog

How to Use Your Heater Safely This Winter


Safety has certainly been a popular word these days. With COVID-19 cases still on the rise throughout the country, it’s natural to be concerned about how you can keep your household healthy and safe. Even with a vaccine on its way, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. So what can we do to ensure the safety within our homes right now, this winter?

It starts with furnace care! If you have a gas-powered heater then this blog post is for you. We aren’t saying that gas-powered heating systems are inherently unsafe, but when they’re not cared for as they should be, they can certainly become dangerous.

Keep reading as we uncover some of the ways you can ensure gas furnace safety in your home this year.

Improving Furnace Efficiency and Safety

The #1 way to ensure the efficiency and safety of your gas furnace is through professional maintenance. This service allows our technicians to comprehensively inspect, clean, and adjust the components within your heater to make sure everything is working as it should. This helps it perform better, which means it can retain its efficiency. It also helps us catch repair needs that could otherwise potentially become harmful, like a cracked heat exchanger leaking carbon monoxide into your living space. In addition to regular tune-ups, you can help improve your furnace’s safety by:

  • Keeping the System Clean and Unobstructed: This might seem like a great housekeeping tip, and it is. But it’s also key to the safe operation of your heater. Remember, furnaces produce heat through combustion. So generally speaking, it’s wise to keep anything flammable far away from the system. You should ensure that there are at least two feet around the system that is clear of debris, and that is swept up regularly. In addition, the indoor unit should be cleaned too, eliminating dust and dirt.
  • Checking Your CO Detectors: We mentioned carbon monoxide (CO) above. You’ll want to make sure that your home is equipped with CO detectors, and that you’re checking them for functionality at least twice a year. This way you can ensure that if potentially harmful CO does make its way into your home—whether through your furnace or another gas-powered appliance in your home—that you are well warned and can take appropriate action from there. Call your utility company’s emergency line if they go off, and open everything up to air out your home. Depending on the severity of the situation it may be best to vacate your home. Be sure to follow the direction of authorities in this case.
  • Trusting Your Nose: When you first switch your furnace on for the season, you may detect a faint burning smell—it should be similar to dust burning off of a jet or burner—because that is what’s happening. This smell should go away after a few days of consistently using your heater, however. So if it persists longer than this or it is a strong and acrid smell, it’s time to give us a call (and stop running your heater until we can take a look!)
  • Replacing the Air Filter: The air filter that comes standard with your furnace is there to protect said heating system from dust and debris getting inside its components. What happens is that this debris restricts airflow, and makes it harder for your furnace to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat. Ultimately, this results in an inefficient system, which isn’t exactly unsafe, but it’s not pleasant for your wallet, either.

Ace Hardware Home Services is your trusted resource for furnace services in Hickory, NC. Contact us today!

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