In terms of furnace safety, the best form of advice that can be given is to not fall under the trap to carbon monoxide, which is a gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless in addition to being lethal when CO is present in large concentration levels. CO is created when a furnace has not been properly maintained and the process of fuel-burning is cut short. Just like a person, a furnace needs to be breathed making it vital that the heating unit has proper ventilation. A fresh-air intake installed may be necessary and CO alarms throughout the house may be appropriate as well. Your furnace should further be checked frequently by a trained and qualified heating technician.
If you smell gas and have a gas furnace in the home, you need to leave immediately. Take your cell phone or stop at a neighbor’s house to use your phone so that the gas company and/or a repair technician can be called. If you are able, find the gas main on the exterior of your home and shut it off.
Aside from the above, here are additional furnace safety tips:
- Clean or change the filter frequently – By far the easiest of them all, you just need to change your disposable filters regularly or clean your permanent filters thoroughly monthly at a minimum.
- Examine the furnace exhaust vent – Make certain that there are no obstructions in the way of the vent pipe including but not limited to leaves, animal nests and additional debris. In addition, make sure snow or ice is not present in the roof exhaust vents.
- Turn off the motor and fully examine the furnace blower motor – You should carefully vacuum the blower motor to suck up any accumulated dirt and if the owner’s manual for your furnace recommends it, oil the motor. In addition, the v-belt and furnace pulleys should be fully examined for wear and tear. If the belt moves over an inch when it is pushed, you need to tighten it.
- Maintain the entire furnace area – Ensure that the entire furnace area is completely clean and doesn’t contain anything that it shouldn’t – such as wet clothes for drying!
- Examine the flue assembly – After it has cooled from use, check the position in addition to the firmness of the flue assembly. From the top of the furnace unit to the ceiling, it should be a straight line and the flue should be securely attached to the furnace collar. Look for loose wiring anywhere near or around the flue – if found, move and secure it away from the pipe.
If you would like to receive more information regarding furnace safety tips and what you should do throughout the upcoming heating season, call Feehan Plumbing & Heating today!