Once the temperature drops, your furnace may not run flawlessly after months of inactivity. Furnace reliability and safety don’t come automatically. In addition to professional maintenance, it’s important to follow these safety tips for your furnace room:
Make Sure the Space Is Well Ventilated
Fuel-powered furnaces burn natural gas, oil, or propane. Improper ventilation can cause harmful fumes to back up into your home, including carbon monoxide. Electric furnaces need to be ventilated as well. Make sure vent pipes are in good condition and unobstructed, avoid closing too many vents, and don’t block air intakes or vents with boxes, suitcases, or other items.
Do Not Store Flammable Items Near the Furnace
Avoid storing flammable materials, especially those with low flash points, around your furnace. These include gasoline, paint, paint thinners, scrap wood, paper, or sawdust. Kitty litter poses another problem; it can release ammonia fumes that can corrode the heat exchanger as well as help circulate toxoplasmosis particles in the air. It may be tempting to use the furnace closet as storage space, but finding room in your attic, garage, or other area is far safer.
Don’t Block Air Flow
Blocked air flow can reduce efficiency, cause uneven heating, and lead to safety issues. A lack of air can cause the furnace to consume oxygen inside your home. It can strain it and increase heating costs as well. Remove any obstructions from around vents and registers and don’t hang laundry around the equipment. Dust, lint, and debris can be a fire hazard and affect air quality, so be sure to clean and vacuum around the furnace from time to time.
Install Adequate Lighting
Dim lighting and burnt-out bulbs can make your furnace room a dangerous place. Good lighting ensures you can navigate the room, inspect the furnace, or deal with an emergency more safely. Always keep a flashlight nearby, just in case, and replace any broken bulbs immediately.
Set Rules for Children
Naturally curious and playful, children may not know how dangerous it is to play around a furnace. Explain to them the risks of doing so and establish rules. Creating a separate play area, not leaving toys around the furnace, and discussing the dangers of getting too close to it, such as getting burned by hot parts, can help protect them.
Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms
Your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be properly installed and tested. Replace the batteries at least once a year. And test the alarms occasionally—especially at the start of winter. Detectors should be installed on every floor and also in the furnace room, so you’ll get an instant warning if something goes wrong.
An annual furnace inspection and tune-up in the fall helps the unit run more reliably, efficiently, and safely. You also want to replace the filter every 1 to 2 months. Inspect the pilot light if you have a natural gas furnace; it should be blue, but if it’s orange or yellow, have a professional come clean the system or make the necessary adjustments. Also look for rust and listen for rattling, popping, and other unusual noises. Call a professional if these are present.
Contact Village Plumbing and Air
Our Village Partner Plan ensures you get the furnace maintenance you need, for just one low annual fee. Members save on all our heating and plumbing services as well. Customers in the Houston area depend on us to address any issue in their furnace room and perform high-quality repairs, no matter the scope of the problem. To schedule your furnace appointment today, request service online or call 713-526-1491.