The majority of homes in the U.S. use natural gas furnaces to supply them with warmth through the winter. Not only is natural gas a less expensive fuel source than electricity, oil, or propane, but a gas furnace can achieve extremely high levels of heat output. A well-maintained furnace can keep back the chill of even the coldest days.
It’s important to make sure that your furnace is running safely. Gas furnaces are not inherently “dangerous” installations, but as with any appliances that use natural gas they need some special care to keep them working as safely as possible.
Below are some tips for safe heating with your furnace during the winter:
- Arrange for maintenance: The best way to see that a furnace is working with minimal safety worries is to have a fall maintenance visit from a professional technician. The inspection will catch any potential hazards so they can be fixed before the winter cold sets in.
- Check CO detectors and smoke alarms: It’s easy to forget about the carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms that silently watch over your family night and day. Don’t take them for granted! Test all of the detectors to see that they are working and change their batteries if necessary.
- Clear the area around the furnace cabinet: You shouldn’t store objects next to the furnace, especially combustible materials like paint thinner. There should be at least half a foot of empty space around the furnace cabinet.
- Never hesitate with repairs: If you notice something wrong with the furnace’s operation, such as strange noises from the cabinet, a drop in heating power, or low airflow, call for repairs as soon as possible. The issue may not seem like it’s a safety hazard, but the longer a furnace runs with a malfunction, the more chance it has of becoming unsafe.