If you are like most homeowners, you rely on a furnace to heat your home during the cold winter months. While you might not give your heater much thought since you have a professional handle the maintenance, it is essential to practice some safety standards when you are around it. You and your family should understand all the furnace safety tips that we are going to go over below.
Replace Filters Often
Your furnace is going to have an air filter that helps to trap unwanted debris and keep these particles from entering the internal components of your furnace. Whenever this filter is clogged, it can cause your furnace to overwork and end up breaking down. It is best to check your filter every couple of weeks to see if it needs to be replaced. If you can no longer see through your filter, it is an indication that it needs to be replaced with a new one.
Schedule Annual Service
To stay in good working condition, all the internal components of your furnace need to be serviced at least once a year. It is best to bring in a service professional who has the experience and knowledge to service your furnace. This will help to ensure that your unit is working efficiently, and any foreseeable problems are handled before they turn into more significant issues.
Clean Your Furnace Space
Before you start to use your furnace, you need to clear away any items that are within its space. The most common is going to be dust and debris that can be easily vacuumed away. Be sure to remove any storage items that are in the area, such as clothing and anything that’s flammable. Some of the most common flammable materials that you will find in a house are gas, paint, wood scraps, old rags, papers, and sawdust. You need to keep all of these items at a safe distance from your furnace so that they do not catch fire.
Test Your Alarms and Detectors
Your home should have both carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to help alert your family of any potential danger if there is a problem with your furnace. Each month you should test every alarm and detector to make sure that it is working appropriately. Whenever you notice that the battery lights are low, replace them before they go dead. It is necessary to have both a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every level of your residence.
Furnace Danger Zone
If you have children at home, they are likely always finding somewhere new to play. While they may have played by the furnace in the summertime, it is important that they are nowhere near it during the winter. You need to set a furnace danger zone that your children may not enter whenever they are at home. By helping to establish this danger zone, you will relay just how dangerous a furnace can be to your children.
Do Not Close Furnace Registers
If you have a forced-air furnace, then you have vents that run throughout all the rooms in your house. It can be easy to accidentally cover these vents with furniture or other objects. If you do, it restricts the airflow inside of your ventilation system and can cause your heater to overheat. It is necessary that you keep all of your vents open.
It is a good rule of thumb to walk around at least once a month and make sure that every vent in each room of your home has adequate space. Also, be mindful of any objects that are within a close distance to your vents. Items like laundry detergent and paint that are near return vents can cause unwanted fumes to be sucked into your ventilation system and dispersed throughout your entire residence.
Illuminate Your Furnace Room
When most people think of a furnace room, they imagine a dimly lit area in the basement. If your furnace room matches this description, then you need to get some lighting installed. It is essential to have this room illuminated so that you can easily see any physical issues with your system. Additionally, it will make it safer for your service technician to be able to handle working on your heater when they have the necessary light to do so.
Be Mindful of Warning Signs
While you can do everything possible to ensure that things with your furnace are in order, malfunctions still happen from time to time. It is important that you understand some of the most common warning signs that come along with a problem so that you can hire a professional to fix them when they happen. Some of the most common include a burning smell, no heat being produced, over-cycling, malfunctioning thermostats, and a gas smell.
Throughout the winter months, it is imperative that you keep the area around your furnace free from debris. Lint buildup can create a major fire hazard. It only takes a little while until the temperature gets too hot with this debris around for it to catch fire in your home. You should be cleaning the area around your furnace at least once every couple of weeks. It only takes a few minutes and helps to keep your family and your house safe from disaster.
Assess Your Furnace Vent Pipe
During the combustion process of creating heat, your furnace will emit harmful exhaust gases. These are typically vented out through a PVC pipe to the outside of your house. It is necessary that you assess the physical condition of your vent pipe on a regular basis. Due to the harmfulness of the gases that are removed, you do not want to have any sort of cracks in the vent pipe. Be sure that you head outside and make sure there are no obstructions in the exterior of the pipe as well.
Have a Fire Extinguisher Near Your Furnace Room
A good safety practice is to have a fire extinguisher within a reasonable distance of your furnace room. If a fire starts, you will have an option to try to put it out quickly. Make sure that you do not place the extinguisher right next to the furnace, as you may not be able to access it if there is an active fire. Rather, put it in a room that is very close to your furnace that you have easy access to it in the event of a fire.
Locate Your Fuel Shut-Off Valve
Furnaces can run on many different types of fuels, including propane, heating oil, and natural gas. As a safety measure, it is important that you understand where the fuel shut-off valve is located. This way, if you have an issue with your furnace, you know exactly where to shut off the fuel to prevent an even bigger problem. You should be informing all the adults who live in your household of the shut-off valve’s location so that everyone is prepared to turn it off if the need arises.
Quality Furnace Services
AC by J offers quality furnace services in the Scottsdale, AZ area. We also provide plumbing, cooling, indoor air quality, heat pump, ductless, and geothermal services. Contact us today to get a service technician to inspect your furnace.