Did you know that furnaces are one of the leading causes of house fires? This is especially true in an age where your furnace may be the oldest appliance in your home, from before a time when the fire code was as strict. Here are four ways you can stay safe and avoid a furnace fire.
Clean Up the Area Around Your Furnace
Your furnace probably has a few feet of open space around it. If it's off the ground level, this may even look like a convenient shelf.
The space is there for a reason — to create a buffer to prevent fires. Items stored next to your furnace can heat up to the point where they can catch fire or be ignited if a spark flies from the furnace. Immediately remove anything within three feet of your furnace.
Also be sure to clean up any dust, cobwebs, or other debris and to do so regularly. They could also catch on fire.
Fix Your Furnace Instead of Using Space Heaters
You should not need to use space heaters to cool cold spots in your home. Furnaces are designed to provide more than enough heat throughout your home, and if they can't, it's a sign of a problem.
Don't risk using a space heater that can cause a fire if it's knocked over or overloads the electrical circuit. Have your furnace inspected for possible losses of efficiency, and have your ducts checked to ensure that there are no leaks letting your heat escape.
Check Your Ventilation
Your furnace should be properly vented to remove carbon monoxide and fumes from fuel. This is especially important if the pilot light goes out because good ventilation could prevent a gas explosion.
Check your ventilation fan from both the inside and outside of your home to make sure it isn't blocked by stored items, filled with leaves, or covered over by paint. Also check it when the furnace is running to make sure the fan actually turns on and hasn't burned out.
Have Your Electrical Components Inspected
Electrical components can wear out over time, especially if they're exposed to moisture from condensation that builds up during temperature changes. Your electrical systems should be checked for signs of fire hazards during your annual preventive maintenance visit.
If you haven't had a safety check done on your furnace in a while, contact a local HVAC contractor, such as those at Nathan's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., to set one up today.