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Could Your Furnace Be Unsafe to Run?

old-basement-furnaceConcerns about the safety of natural gas furnaces are common. We often have customers ask us if it’s really safe to have a natural gas furnace in their home.

The first thing we tell people is that gas furnaces are the most common type of heating system found across the U.S. If furnaces had any type of bad safety record, they wouldn’t be allowed so extensively into homes. The manufacturers of modern gas furnaces are required to design their systems with numerous safety features and to meet many national, state, and local requirements. When you see the ENERGY STAR label on a furnace, it not only means the furnace meets the standards for energy conservation, but it was also built to meet demanding safety standards.

But there’s still a potential for a furnace to become unsafe, right?

Yes. We have to be honest about this. Any appliance that combusts natural gas—an oven, a stove, a gas water heater—can create a safety hazard because of leaks of toxic exhaust fumes or from the danger of uncontrolled combustion. In fact, any home that has a connection to a natural gas line can encounter danger from carbon monoxide leaks. This is why CO detectors are legally required in these homes.

However, the chance of your home’s furnace becoming dangerous is small—provided that you follow a few basic steps:

  • Always arrange for annual maintenance for the furnace. It’s best to do it in the fall, right before the furnace does the biggest amount of work, but it’s better to do it late than to skip it for a year. Technicians can catch potential safety issues before they become issues during the maintenance inspection.
  • Never delay calling for repairs for a broken furnace. Shut off the gas and have a professional HVAC technician in ASAP to check out the system
  • Change the furnace filter every 1 to 3 months and keep the area around the cabinet clear of objects, especially flammable material like paint thinner.

The cracked heat exchanger

This is the most likely reason that a furnace may become unsafe. The heat exchanger is the metal compartment in the furnace where hot combustion gas collects. The hot metal walls of the exchanger are what warm the air that enters the living spaces. If the exchanger cracks, combustion fumes can escape into the air. This is most likely to occur in an extremely old furnace, so always check with your maintenance technicians about when it’s best to have a new furnace installed. If you hear a clicking sound from the furnace after the blower fan shuts off, it may indicate a cracked exchanger.

Call fur furnace repair from experts

Arrange for Plainfield, IL furnace service if you have any reason to be suspicious of your heater’s performance. Not just concerns about whether it’s safe or not—you want any potential problem solved fast. (And yes, even in April, on the edge of the weather turning warmer, staying on top of furnace repairs is important for your health and the long-term health of the heating system.)

Johansen & Anderson Inc serves Joliet and the Will County area. Call J&A today—Sleep-tight tonight!

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