Let’s Talk About Gas Furnace Safety

Oct 31, 2019 | Blog

It’s that time of year again. Time for cooler days, chilly nights, and, soon enough, turning on the furnace. Is your home heating system up to par? Ready to warm your home safely and efficiently? Do you have the best system for your home? There are two basic types of furnaces used in homes: gas furnaces and electric furnaces. Although natural gas is cheaper than electricity and saves money in the long run, most people choose electric models because they don’t feel safe with natural gas being pumped into their home. Rest assured, gas furnaces are safe for home use and they will save you money, paying for themselves in no time. As with any major appliance, there are some important tips to maintaining a gas furnace and keeping it in top working order. October is National Fire Prevention Month, making it the perfect time to go over these tips so that you can get the best and safest performance from your gas furnace all season long:


One of the best things you can do to ensure that your gas furnace and your entire HVAC system will work great for years to come is to schedule an annual inspection and cleaning by an HVAC professional. Not only will a thorough cleaning guarantee that the air flowing through your home is safe and free of allergens and other pollutants, an inspection will turn up any issues or potential issues that could rear their ugly heads right in the middle of extreme weather season when repair costs at their highest, possibly costing you a lot of money when all is said and done. Don’t take any chances. Preventive maintenance like this is simple and very effective.


Always make sure that there is nothing combustible stored near your furnace. Even though you may think you have placed the items a safe distance away, there is no need to take unnecessary risks by having them anywhere in the vicinity of your gas furnace. It is best to store them in another area of the house entirely, preferable on another floor or in the attic, garage, etc.


If you should notice soot or dark discoloration on the walls or ceiling near your gas furnace, contact an HVAC specialist right away. This is an indication that there is a broken seal or a loose airway somewhere and it will need to be repaired right away.


Your gas furnace has a pilot flame that should always be completely blue in color. His indicates total gas combustion, meaning your system is working properly. If any other color is present (orange, yellow, red) the air flow to your furnace’s burner is being constricted. Contact an HVAC technician and report the issue immediately.


Regularly clean the entire area near your furnace. Wipe down walls and ceilings, sweep and mop floors, wipe off the furnace itself. This will prevent dust and debris from finding its way inside your system and causing clogs.


During the winter months when your gas furnace is in use, check the air filter once every 30 days and change it as needed to keep it completely free of dirt and debris. If the dirty filter is not replaced, not only can these pollutants invade your home, but they will get into your HVAC system, where they can cause some serious damage. If your system becomes clogged, the fan will work harder to push the air through the clogged air filter. This in turn will burn up the motor in your system, requiring repair or replacement. In some instances, your entire HVAC system may have to be replaced. It is much better – and less costly – to change the air filter regularly. Mark your calendar and check monthly to see if it needs to be replaced.


Natural gas is colorless and odorless. As a precaution, a rather unpleasant smelling substance called Mercaptan is added to the gas so that it can be detected. The smell is most often compared to cooked cabbage or rotten eggs. If you notice this smell in your home, there are steps you need to take right away.

The first thing you need to do is make certain that what you are smelling is actually gas. Open the doors and windows in your home and leave them open for at least an hour. If the odor is still present once you close them, you may have a gas leak. Using a mixture of water mixed with dish detergent or laundry soap, coat the fittings that are attached to your furnace and watch for the formation of bubbles. If bubbles appear, you have located the gas leak. Turn off the gas at the main shut-off valve (located near the gas meter) and get everyone out of the house and a safe distance away. Immediately contact your local fire department or the gas company.

Centerville Heating and Cooling takes pride in helping you make sure your home is ready for any weather by keeping your HVAC system performing at its best. Our fully trained and licensed professionals are available when you need them – or when you want to make sure that you won’t need them! Call Centerville Heating and Cooling at 937-353-1169 and schedule your appointment today. Ask us about our other services as well. We provide top quality, comprehensive care for your heating and cooling system. Visit us on the web at www.centervilleheatandcooling.com/appointments.