A furnace is a lifesaver during our harsh Calgary winters. But it can also be a danger under the wrong conditions.
This is surprising to a lot of homeowners, but it’s true – the fact is, there are a lot of dangerous furnace facts!
1. Improper Installation is One of the Biggest Dangers
Believe it – installing a furnace is actually more important than the furnace itself. You could have a state-of-the-art, top of the line furnace, but if it isn’t installed properly it can have deadly consequences. In the US, where it’s legal for homeowners to do their own installations, thousands die every year due to gas leaks from bad furnace and water heater installs.
Improper installation will also increase the number problems, from poor efficiency to issues that need to be repaired.
That’s why it’s so important to have your furnace installed by a licensed HVAC professional.
2. Gas Furnaces Can Explode
With a gas furnace comes the risk that there could be a fire or an explosion if the gas leaks. This is exactly what happened to a home in Ontario; a gas explosion killed one man and damaged 40 other houses. A good indicator of a gas leak is when you smell rotten eggs while using your air conditioner or furnace.
If you have a cracked heat exchanger, or a combustion problem that goes unchecked by a professional, you’re at risk of the same thing happening to you.
3. Furnaces Are The Most Likely Source for Deadly Carbon Monoxide Gas
Carbon monoxide is an invisible and scentless killer that kills dozens of people every year. Your furnace is one of the top sources for this deadly gas.
While a working, tuned furnace won’t cause this problem, a malfunctioning one could. And without the proper safety gear, you won’t realize something is wrong until it’s too late.
4. All These Things Are Totally Preventable
One of the reasons furnaces endanger homeowners is because it they’re suffering from neglect. Without regular attention, a furnace will start to breakdown and malfunction.
Think about when you get sick – you you stopping working the way you usually do, and no one should be around you. It’s the exact same way with your furnace.
The difference is, we take cold medicine to get better. If your furnace doesn’t get it’s ‘cold medicine’ – also known as a tune up – the consequences could be costly, not to mention dangerous.
Furnace Safety Tips to Follow
Now that you know the facts, here are some furnace safety tips for your whole family to follow.
1. Have Annual Maintenance Done
Annual maintenance is an absolute necessity for a safe, high-efficiency furnace. In fact, many manufacturers require annual maintenance to keep the warranty valid. A professional will be able to diagnose problems, and a tune up will help prevent problems that could potentially be life-threatening.
It’s important to remember that all repairs should be handled by a professional. Working with a system that uses a combustible substances requires special training and a license. If you suspect your furnace needs a repair, please call.
2. Have Carbon Monoxide Detectors Installed and Up to Date
Protect yourself from carbon monoxide by having alarms installed on every floor and near every bedroom in your home. You should also have one by your furnace (at a distance of 10 or more feet away).
These lifesaving devices are less than $50, and easy to install once you have them. Make sure to change the batteries every spring and fall – we suggest doing it along the same schedule as Daylight Savings Time.
We just ‘fell back’ in time, so if you didn’t change your batteries (or haven’t in awhile) go out and do it now. You’ll be on schedule for when spring comes.
3. Keep Your Kids Away From the Furnace
Kids are curious by nature, but one place they should never explore is the area of your home where your furnace is kept. It’s not hard to open the panel with a screwdriver, and before you know it there could be a real problem.
Not only could the kids hurt themselves, but they could cause damage to the furnace, which puts your home at risk. Make sure to tell your children to avoid that area, and keep an eye out for any curious explorers who decide it wouldn’t hurt to take a peek.
4. Maintain a Clearing of at Least 3ft Around the Furnace
We recommend leaving at least 3 feet of space around your furnace clear. Not only is this required for us to come in and service it, but it is a good safety tip to not have anything too close to a combustible heat source.
Make an Appointment for a Furnace Tune Up
If you haven’t had your yearly furnace tune up yet, now is the time. Book an appointment with us, and we’ll make sure your furnace is safe to use. Then you can start following our other furnace safety tips to have a warm, safe winter.