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Are Gas Furnaces Dangerous?

A burner in a gas furnace

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are highly efficient and more affordable to operate than their electrical counterparts. However, if they are not maintained regularly, these can become health hazards for you and your family.

While risks are low, accidents can happen. Here are some ways that a gas furnace in your home can become a hazard:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

All appliances that use gas as fuel emit carbon monoxide (CO), a deadly and odorless gas. If your gas furnace has a faulty or damaged ventilation system, the indoor air of your home can be contaminated with methane, CO, and other dangerous emissions. People have died overnight from gas poisoning because of damaged furnaces.

What you Should Do

●Check your ventilation system, air ducts, and pipes regularly to ensure they are working properly.
●Make sure you have CO alarms installed in your home in different places. This includes floors near bedrooms, a couple of feet away from the stove, the furnace, and the fireplace. Check your detectors every month by pressing the ‘test’ button. If the alarm goes off, they are working fine.
●If the CO detectors go off in any part of your home, turn off your gas furnace and any other gas appliances immediately. Contact qualified technicians to get it repaired and move your family out of the house till the fire department has completed their inspection.
●Make sure the gas pressure is adjusted in the mainline annually. Besides reducing risks, you can also save on your utility bills with this simple step. It will also increase the lifespan of your furnace by ensuring the heat exchanger doesn’t overheat. An overheating heat exchanger can cause cracks that can allow gas to leak through.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

An unclean gas furnace can emit more than carbon monoxide. It can also give off emissions, dust, and other contaminants that significantly reduce your indoor air quality. If the furnace is not cleaned out regularly, you will breathe in that air without realizing it.

What you Should Do

●Check the air filter after every 30 days or so. If it is clogged, replace it.
●Make sure the area around your furnace and its components are clean.
●Schedule an in-home air-quality consultation with professional technicians. They can pinpoint where the issue lies.
●Leave your home if you experience nausea, migraines, or keep vomiting.

Electric Shocks

Your furnace may run on gas, but some of the components it is attached to, such as the blower and thermostat, run on electricity. If these short circuit, you can get a nasty shock, or even worse.

What you Should Do

●Do not fix electrical issues yourself if you are inexperienced. You can get an electrical shock if you fumble around.
●If you have to do emergency repairs yourself, make sure the main power is off before opening your furnace.
●Contact an experienced HVAC professional for both minor and extensive repairs.

Gas Leaks

Gas is highly combustible, which makes leaks extremely dangerous. These are some of the main causes of home fires across the nation and can also cause explosions. If your gas furnace and gas lines are unmaintained for months, they can develop holes and cracks that allow the fuel to escape. You can blow your home sky high with a single match.

What you Should Do

●If you smell rotten eggs in your kitchen or any space in your home, you have a gas leak. Evacuate immediately and call the fire department. Do not strike a match or use any appliance. Older models don’t have detectors that shut down the system if they detect a gas leak.
●Get your furnace maintained and repaired regularly. Experienced technicians can spot minuscule cracks you may miss.

Fire Hazard

Besides gas leaks, an unmaintained gas furnace can also become a serious fire hazard. Any broken or malfunctioning parts will not work properly and may ignite. If dust and dirt is allowed to build up in the unit, the debris can catch fire.

What you Should Do

●Do not place clutter near the furnace. Make sure the area is clear in front of it. An overheating furnace can cause fire easily.
●Cut off the gas supply from the outside if you think the furnace is overheating.
●Do not try and put out a fire yourself.
●Get your gas furnace serviced and cleaned up once every year or every six months, especially if you have an old model.

Hazardous Issues

Some of the other gas furnace issues you may face include the following:

A Cracked Heat Exchanger

These metallic chambers transfer heat from the furnace to the ducts. They can crack if they corrode because of old age or venting issues. Those cracks can allow deadly gas to infiltrate your home. The colorless and odorless gas is toxic and can ignite easily. If you hear strange noises from your furnace, it means the heat exchangers have to be replaced.

Malfunctioning Thermocouple

The thermocouple keeps tabs on the pilot light. It shuts off the gas line automatically if it goes out without warning. Otherwise, unburned gas can flood the combustion chamber. If this component fails, an explosion is imminent.

Prevent this from happening by getting your gas furnace checked out yearly. The technician will let you know if the thermocouple should be replaced or not.

Poor Venting

The chimney of your gas furnace is responsible for removing exhaust fumes from your unit. If that is blocked or broken, those toxic fumes will infiltrate the cabinet, leading to an explosion.

Contact King Heating for Furnace Maintenance today!

Your furnace provides your family with a warm and comfortable environment. Regular preventative maintenance will keep your furnace operating safely. Trust King Heating for furnace repairs and installations, and you won’t have to worry about a malfunctioning unit during the cold months.