Is your home equipped with a gas furnace? While there are other types of central heating systems, gas furnaces are among the most common. They are designed to generate thermal heat by burning gas -- typically natural gas -- inside of a combustion chamber. While common, though, gas furnaces require maintenance. When neglected, they can create safety hazards in the form of carbon monoxide or even fires. Below are five important gas furnace safety tips.
#1) Vacuum Dust and Debris
You should get into the habit of vacuuming around your gas furnace at least once a month. Like most central heating systems, gas furnaces are typically installed in basements, crawlspaces or attics. Therefore, they will inevitably collect dust and debris. Failure to clean your gas furnace may result in the buildup of dust and debris. When you go to turn on your gas furnace, all of this dust and debris may ignite while subsequently creating a fire hazard. You can prevent this from happening by vacuuming around your gas furnace at least once a month.
#2) Test CO Detectors
Don't forget to test the carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Gas furnaces produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is one of several flue gases with which they are associated. Normally, the carbon monoxide will be expelled through a flue pipe. If your gas furnace is damaged, though, it may enter your home. Ensuring that your home has functional carbon monoxide detectors will allow you to identify problems such as this.
#3) Keep Flammable Liquids and Materials Away
It may sound like common sense, but it's worth mentioning that you should keep all flammable liquids and materials away from your gas furnace. To produce heat, gas furnaces will generate a flame. This flame will ignite the gas while creating heat. Any flammable liquids or materials, though, may ignite as well. Therefore, you should create clearance around your gas furnace to ensure that no flammable liquids or materials are nearby.
#4) Change the Filter
Another important safety tip to follow when using your gas furnace is to change the filter. The filter is responsible for removing particulate contaminants from the air. If you don't change it, it won't be able to clean the air.
#5) Get a Professional Inspection
Perhaps the single most important thing you can do is to get a professional inspection. As a homeowner, you may lack the tools and experience needed to identify problems with your gas furnace. And overlooking some of these problems could create a safety hazard for you and your family.