Keeping your homestead warm is a fundamental necessity for maintaining a comfortable living environment, especially here in Ohio, where the cold can get deadly. However, with most homeowners in America using natural gas to heat their homes, it also presents some hazards if you aren’t careful. Some of those hazards include fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and indoor air pollution.
With gas furnace fires being the number two cause of house fires in the country, heat can quickly turn to havoc if you don’t follow some simple rules. We at Lewis Center-Powell Heating & Air compiled the following list of gas furnace safety tips.
1. GET DETECTORS & EXTINGUISHERS
Heat is a beautiful thing during winter — that is unless it is the result of a furnace fire. To shield your family from the perils of a house fire, guarantee that smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in working order. Put them in the same room as your furnace as well as where you can hear them. Also, be sure to replace your detector’s batteries on a seasonal basis. The same goes for carbon monoxide detectors. A malfunctioning furnace can discharge dangerous carbon monoxide, so it’s essential to have a fully-charged detector for that closeby as well. Carbon monoxide is an odor-free gas, so never rely on your sense of smell to detect problems near the furnace. Natural gas, on the other hand, has a rotten egg smell added to it for detection purposes. Be sure to know the signs of a leak and poisoning have emergency evacuation plans and know where your master gas shut-off valve is. If you smell gas, do not turn on any lights or do anything that could spark it.
2. GIVE IT TWO FEET OF ROOM
As a blanket rule, the least amount of space around a furnace should be approximately two feet. Anything remotely flammable should be stored even farther away. Flammable items include things like lint, dust, papers, paint, rags, clothing, boxes, and more. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove lint and dust from your furnace area. This should be done at least once per month to circumvent any buildup. Seal any liquids in the room airtight. Try to avoid having any flammable chemicals in that same room. And, as a rule, your furnace room should be a child-free zone. Furnace fire safety begins with a keen eye, so always look for the unseen dangers that could be sitting right beside your furnace.
3. REPLACE AIR FILTERS
It’s not hard to overlook the need to change your furnace filters. However, it’s also dangerous. Not only does it decrease the quality of air in your home, but also it makes your furnace work harder, which increases energy costs. To avoid unnecessary strain on your system that could cause additional problems down the road, be sure to replace your furnace’s filter at least every 1 to 3 months. Throughout the winter months, you might want to increase the rotation to circumvent the risk of a breakdown, which no one wants to deal with during the winter.
4. CHECK AIRFLOW
When snow accumulates, it can prompt your gas furnace to shut down. That’s because the snow can block two of the most important parts of your home comfort system — the exterior air intake and exhaust from your gas furnace. The best way to keep air moving smoothly throughout your home is to perform a visual examination of these areas after a notable snowfall to look for any obstructions. Clearing out these areas when your furnace stalls will result in less stress on the system and extend its service life. Also, make sure at least 80 percent of registers in your home are open so air can flow freely inside.
5. GET REGULAR MAINTENANCE
When it comes to furnaces, it’ll always save you money to be more proactive than reactive. Don’t skimp on the maintenance. Have a professional inspect your furnace annually for all these reasons and more. Because when something goes awry, and a furnace breaks down, a repair or replacement is no longer an option. It’s an expensive necessity. And no one wants to deal with that in the cold of winter. Proper maintenance makes sure your furnace will function properly when temperatures plummet.
Gas furnaces are machines, and machines can break down and cause real harm without the right precautions. So also avoid Do It Yourself jobs and leave the work up to the professionals.
For an appointment with one of our friendly service technicians, call Lewis Center-Powell Heating & Air today at 614-490-7530 or schedule an appointment online now at www.lewiscenterpowellheatingandair.com/schedule-now/.