The Dangers of an Unmaintained Gas Furnace
Your furnace is responsible for keeping you and your loved ones warm throughout the fall and winter months. As temperatures drop, we rely more and more on our furnace. Extended use can cause stress for your heating system if it hasn’t been properly maintained. If your furnace is broken or damaged, it can be a safety hazard for your home and loved ones. If you have a gas furnace in your home, it’s essential to know precisely what the dangers are of an unmaintained gas furnace.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that’s a byproduct of burning carbon-based fuel. It can make humans and animals very sick, causing symptoms such as headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, and confusion. In high concentrations, it can be fatal.
While all gas furnaces produce a small amount of carbon monoxide, this is usually expelled from the home through the vent system. However, a gas furnace that’s not maintained can produce high levels of carbon monoxide because of the buildup of dirt in the filter or combustion chamber. This can release carbon monoxide into the air supply. At the same time, fractures in the heat exchanger can release the gas. In addition, if the furnace door is damaged and doesn’t close properly, it can cause more carbon monoxide to escape.
Gas Line Leaks
Because gas is combustible, gas line leaks are extremely dangerous. They’re the cause of many home fires and can even cause explosions.
An unmaintained gas furnace might have cracks or holes in the gas lines, and the gas valve might be broken or connections might be loose. Any of these vulnerabilities can be places where gas can escape into your home.
If you smell a bad odor — usually like rotten eggs — and/or hear a hissing sound, you’ve got a gas leak. Evacuate your home immediately, and call the fire department.
In addition to gas line leaks, a gas furnace can be a fire hazard for several other reasons. If there are broken parts, the furnace won’t function properly, which could pose a fire risk. Dust and dirt can build up, and when they get hot, they can catch fire. In addition, if there’s clutter within two feet of the furnace, this could be a fire hazard too as it can overheat and ignite.
Always Maintain Your Gas Furnace
Fortunately, you can avoid all of these dangers by properly maintaining your gas furnace. You should regularly — about once a month — inspect it for any visual signs of damage such as dents, cracks, or loose valves. Make sure that the ignition light is burning blue. If it’s yellow or some other color, then there’s a problem with the combustion and you need to have a technician take a look right away. You should also listen for unusual sounds, as they can also indicate damage. Refer to the manual to determine whether the filters need to be replaced or cleaned and how often. For the best and safest results, follow these instructions to the letter.
Finally, make sure to schedule annual maintenance by a qualified technician. This will not only keep your furnace running energy-efficiently and prolong the appliance’s life, but also ensure it’s running properly so it’s safe for you and your family to use.
If your furnace needs maintenance or repair, call MillTown today! Our qualified and trained technicians will have your heating system running safely and efficiently in no time.