There’s no surprise that gas heating is the preference for most homeowners; it’s cheaper and heats more efficiently than electricity. While a gas-fueled heating furnace has many benefits, it also has some potential dangers that homeowners need to be aware of.
Gas furnaces must have a suitable amount of space between walls, ceilings, and other items. Materials stored too closely can obstruct airflow and create a fire hazard. Combustible materials like gasoline, cleaning supplies, and other solvents that emit vapors can cause a fire and explosion. Paper and other flammable items close to the furnace can catch on fire.
Make sure to keep your furnace clear of all items. Don’t store anything near your furnace.
Natural gas, primarily methane, is a highly flammable fuel and can leak from your furnace or the gas lines leading to your house. Even small amounts of leaked gas can trigger an explosion and fire.
If you smell gas (a rotten egg odor), IMMEDIATELY EVACUATE THE AREA, do not operate any electrical devices and don’t flip any light switches on, shut off the gas at its source (if possible), go to a neighbor’s house and call emergency personnel and the gas company to notify them about the possible gas leak.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
One of the greatest dangers of a gas furnace is the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas given off as a byproduct of burning natural gas fuel. Exposure causes flu-like symptoms including headaches, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and breathing difficulties. Overexposure can kill.
Carbon monoxide can escape due to blocked or limited venting, insufficient air supply, a cracked heat exchanger, or a faulty flue vent. Operating the furnace with the front panel door open can allow carbon monoxide to leak out therefore always make sure the door is closed completely. Older gas furnaces pose an even greater risk.
Reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by purchasing a carbon monoxide detector and installing it in close proximity to your furnace. You can find them online or at a discount or hardware store.
Furnaces include high and low-voltage circuits as part of the system structure in order to enable energy supply. Attempting to service your furnace without turning off the main power supply can cause electrical shock or even death.
Do not open the furnace without disconnecting the power first. It is highly recommended to have a trained professional service your furnace for your safety.
Gas furnaces can be dangerous. Professional installation, regular maintenance, and proper care can help prevent a hazardous situation. We recommend having your furnace cleaned and inspected once a year in the fall before winter.
Tip: Some gas furnaces have a continuous pilot flame. During the summer when you are not using the furnace turn it off and you can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as save some money on your energy bill.
Request service if you want a furnace tune-up or join our STAR program to get yearly maintenance on your furnace and air conditioner. Also, enjoy priority service and discounts on services and repairs.