take a look at these furnace safety tips

December 27, 2023

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Maintaining your furnace should be one of the top items on your list if you own a home in Alberta because poorly maintained furnaces can be dangerous. Everything from carbon monoxide to fires can happen when you don’t maintain your furnace properly, but there are several things that you can do to make your furnace safer and your home better to be in because of the added sense of security that knowing your furnace has been maintained can give. These are some of the top tips.

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO STAY AWAY

In most homes, there are a few areas where the children shouldn’t be, including near the furnace. When you have younger children, you should watch them at all times so that you always know that they aren’t anywhere near the furnace, where they could get hurt. You should teach older children who are capable of following directions that they shouldn’t be anywhere near the furnace. Teach them how certain parts of the furnace are hot and they could burn themselves. You should also teach them that they need to keep their toys a certain distance from the furnace so that it’s easy to get to in the event of an emergency.

MAINTAIN PROPER VENTILLATION AND AIRFLOW

Furnaces need air to work properly, and if there isn’t proper ventilation, the fumes could back up into the house and cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which results in headaches, nausea, lightheadedness, and even death. Additionally, improper ventilation could even result in a fire. If you notice any signs of poor ventilation, such as soot on the walls or ceiling, call a professional right away to have it checked out.

KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER NEARBY

Not all homes have even one fire extinguisher, but there are actually a couple of key places where you should keep one available in case of emergency. The furnace room is one of those important places. You can fight some fires yourself if they’re small enough and you have the proper tools, saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Learn when it’s appropriate to try to use a fire extinguisher on a small fire and when you should seek safety outside of the house. You can also teach the other able-bodied and able-minded people in the household the same skills.

KEEP FLAMMABLES AWAY FROM THE FURNACE

When you have a furnace, you need to ensure that you’re not providing fuel for a potential fire. If you house your furnace in your laundry room, you might have clothes hanging in the area. Make sure that you keep your clothes several feet away from the furnace so that it doesn’t catch on fire. And regardless of where you keep your furnace, you need to ensure that you don’t have things like wood pieces, sawdust, papers, and other combustible materials nearby. You might also be interested to learn that there are several chemicals that could catch on fire, including ammonia, paint thinner, paint, and gasoline, so move them to a different place, or get rid of them if you don’t need them anymore.

INSPECT THE FLUE PIPES AND SEAMS

If you have a split in the seams of your flue or pipes, the ventilation might not be working correctly. Soot around the walls and ceiling is one sign that you might have a split in one of the seams of the pipes, and by inspecting the flue pipes and the walls will help you find those problems sooner.

VACUUM AROUND THE FURNACE

Dust and other debris can collect around your furnace, and this debris can cause problems for your furnace. For instance, you might have problems with the furnace getting clogged, thereby increasing the amount of energy that your furnace has to expend to push the air through the system. Otherwise, some of that debris could get in the pilot flame, increasing the chances of a fire. Take an upright vacuum with an attachment or a handheld Rug Doctor vacuum to clean up around the furnace at least once a month when you’re vacuuming other parts of your house.

ADD A SMOKE ALARM NEAR YOUR FURNACE

You might think that you have all of the smoke alarms that your house needs if you have one by the bedrooms and another in the kitchen, but the furnace area is another important place to have a smoke detector because you want to know about a fire as soon as possible. Even a couple of minutes could mean the difference between everyone in your family getting out of the house safely and someone getting trapped inside. Add a smoke detector right next to the furnace so that you and your family will hear the alarm even if it goes off when you’re sleeping at night.

CHECK THE CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

Carbon monoxide is one of the biggest potential dangers of having a gas furnace. If the ventilation is poor or you have some other malfunction with the furnace, you could end up having a problem with carbon monoxide in your home, and this could spell major troubles when it comes to the health of you and the other inhabitants. Carbon monoxide can even kill, so you should get yours checked on a regular basis. Most models are simple enough to test, only requiring a press of a button. You can also get ones that run on electricity, a battery, or both, so you’ll be able to ensure that yours is always working.

GET THE INSPECTIONS DONE

A professional will be able to spot problems brewing a lot more quickly than you’ll find them, so you should make sure that you schedule your inspections every year. Along with getting an inspection, you should keep a log of all of the inspection dates and notes of what was done and what might need to be done in the future. Keep this log on a binder or in a plastic folder on the side of the furnace so that you can easily go back and find out later what you need to do on your furnace.

HAVE A PLAN FOR TEENAGERS ALONE AT HOME

If you have teenagers who are sometimes at home by themselves, would they know what to do in the event of an emergency? Make sure that you talk to your teenagers about a neighbor that they could contact and what they should do if they ever smelled gas or noticed a fire coming from the furnace room. Have a list of numbers programmed into your teenager’s cell phone so that they always have access to the emergency services, family members, and neighbors that they would need in the case of an emergency. You should also talk to them about what you would like them to do if they see a fire and it’s small and they have a fire extinguisher. Make sure that they know when and how to use the extinguisher that you have.

When you’re looking for ways to make your furnace safer, contact Alberta Mountain Air Heating and Air Conditioning. We can help you with furnace safety tips, furnace repairs, and air conditioner repairs and installations for whenever you have HVAC problems.

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