Winter Safety Tips for Gas Furnace Owners

With the school closings piling up as fast as the snow this morning, it’s a good time to take a look at a few Gas Furnace safety tips to protect ourselves and our family during these winter months.

Natural Gas Furnaces

Natural gas furnaces are the appliance of choice for us Wisconsinites to heat our homes. They are the most energy efficient with the newer models having an annual fuel-utilization-efficiency up to 97 percent. Natural gas is one of the cleanest of fossil fuels and easiest to manage. However, like most mechanical devices, they are not a plug-in and forget item. They require regular maintenance and inspections. Safety precautions need to be followed in order to maintain a safe appliance, after all, they are a combustion device that burns a highly flammable gas and it’s bi-product is odorless Carbon Monoxide.

Our 5 Winter Furnace Safety Tips

We recommend these quick safety guidelines when dealing with these furnaces.  (For a complete list of safety items please see your furnace care and maintenance manual.)

  1. Keep Snow away from the Intake and Exhaust. When there is a forecast for deep snow, be cognizant of how high the exterior air intake and exhaust out-take is for your furnace. You do not want snow or ice to block these, and possible cause carbon monoxide to back-up into the house.
  2. Keep the area around the furnace clean.  This includes vacuuming and sweeping of all debris. It is important to keep flammable lint, saw dust, and flammable vapor away from the area.
  3. Keep children, toys and their play area away from hot furnaces.  Although they may know it is hot and not to touch, that may not prevent a pillow or blanket from falling on the hot surface and catching fire. Keep wet cloths at least 3 feet from the furnace.
  4. Inspect and Change the Filter regularly.  The cleaner the filter, the easier air can pass through it, and the more efficient the furnace will run. Be sure all furnace covers are tight and secure.
  5. Install a Carbon Monoxide/Smoke detector combo unit near the furnace. Also make sure there is a smoke detector on all livable floors.

Let’s not forget about Space Heaters. Remember that portable un-vented space heaters are just a supplemental heat, and not intended to be used as a whole home energy source.  Since electricity has a higher operating cost, some times it is better (and safer) to just turn the thermostat up a couple degrees.  Learn more with this article from MG&E.

If you have any questions with these tips, or would like one of our service technicians to perform a winter maintenance tune-up, please don’t hesitate to Contact us.

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