Furnace Safety Tips: 10 Important Things You Need to Know

Posted on: Dec 07, 2022

As the winter months approach, the temperature gradually gets colder and colder, which means that you’re likely turning on your furnace for the first time in a few months. However, seeing you probably haven’t turned on your furnace in a while, it probably isn’t operating at 100%.

Without getting your furnace serviced regularly, safety issues can arise that put your family in danger, such as:

  • Household fires
  • Toxic metal fumes
  • CO2 inhalation

Follow these 10 furnace safety tips to keep your family safe and ensure your furnace lasts as long as possible.

#1: Schedule an Annual Furnace Tuneup

Once you have turned on or are ready to turn on your furnace for the first time that year, you should have it looked at, especially if you haven’t maintained it while it was powered off.

HVAC experts recommend having your furnace serviced at least once a year to check it for serious internal problems, energy efficiency, and carbon monoxide leaks.

#2: Change the Furnace Filters

Over time, furnace filters accumulate dust. This dust buildup is a fire hazard and negatively impacts the filter’s efficiency because it blocks airflow

Remember when installing air filters that one size doesn’t fit all models, so check what size filter you currently have installed. Depending on the width and MERV rating (ability to catch dust and contaminants), the team at Airco Service recommends changing your filters each month during the winter because of heavy use.

#3: Don’t Store Flammable Items Near It

Furnaces are often located in basements with various appliances and general storage. Keep clutter as far away from your furnace as possible, especially chemical products and laundry.

Also, avoid placing books, magazines, gasoline canisters, rags, and paint near your furnace.

#4: Make Sure Air Flows Around It

To avoid carbon monoxide poising from an active furnace, ensure no air vents are blocked. Keep the vast majority of your air vents open because furnaces require fresh air to draw heat to their air vents.

#5: Clean and Vacuum Around It Regularly

Unlike other furnace safety tips on this list, cleaning and vacuuming your furnace should be done monthly because dust buildup is a fire hazard.

Furnace models vary greatly, so check your owner’s manual to learn how to clean it properly.

#6: Teach Your Children and Pets to Stay Away from It

Furnaces can be easy to ignore during hot months of the year and are harmless to touch when they aren’t in use. But once winter bares its fangs, it’s time to turn on your furnace—playing around it is no longer safe.

Teach children and pets to avoid your furnace while it is on because they could get burnt.

#7: Install and Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Furnaces can release carbon monoxide or excessive smoke for a variety of reasons. When a detector goes off, indicating the release of carbon monoxide, that should be a red flag that tells you to call a professional. 

#8: Store Fire Extinguishers Nearby

If your furnace starts to go out of control or anything catches on fire around it, it’s wise to have a fire extinguisher on standby. A well-placed and accessible fire extinguisher can save lives and homes.

#9: Have a Fire Escape Plan

When developing contingency plans for an out-of-control furnace, make sure your whole family understands how to escape your home in case

Not every situation can be handled with a fire extinguisher, so everyone should know how to escape their home if it catches fire.

#10: When in Doubt, Call a Professional

Our most important furnace safety tip might be to call a professional when the problem is out of your wheelhouse.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, contact a licensed expert right away and try to keep your distance from your furnace for the time being:

  • The pilot light goes out frequently
  • You smell a foul, burning, toxic, or gas-like scent
  • Your furnace doesn’t heat your home
  • Your furnace is particularly noisy
  • Your furnace shuts down randomly

Schedule Regular Maintenance and Upkeep with Airco Service

Regardless of your furnace’s age, professionals should check it yearly to: 

  • Ensure the components are operating correctly. 
  • Lower heating bills. 
  • Confirm that carbon monoxide isn’t leaking out.

While you can get your furnace serviced at any time of the year, most people wait till the start of winter when they are ready to turn their furnace back on for the first time in a few months.

If you live in Oklahoma or Arkansas and are looking for trained HVAC professionals to perform heating maintenance services, contact Airco Service for more information.