Gas is one of the most efficient fuels to use for home heating, and installed and operated properly, a gas furnace is exceedingly safe. However, it's wise to take steps when you're running a gas furnace to ensure your complete safety. These five tips will help you avoid the hazards associated with using combustible fuels indoors for heating:
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Each level of your home should have one, but if you have to phase them in, put the first one 15 feet from the master bedroom at eye level. Placing it too close to humid areas, like bathrooms, interferes with its ability to detect CO in the air.
- Teach your children what to do if they smell a gas leak. Keep the emergency number for your gas provider in an obvious place or tell them to call 911 in an emergency. Also teach them not to turn anything on or off when they smell leaking gas, and to exit the house immediately and seek shelter with a neighbor.
- Be aware of the gas shut-off valve's location and how use it in an emergency. Keep the landscaping around it trimmed.
- Keep the air filter for the furnace clean. When you're running a gas furnace, check the air filter monthly. As dirt builds on the filter, the airflow slows through the system. If the burner or heat exchanger gets covered with dust, the heat builds and weakens the metal. Eventually, the parts can crack, which emits CO into your home. You'll either have to repair the furnace or replace it, both of which are an avoidable expense simply by keeping the air filters clean.
- Have your furnace serviced annually. The HVAC technicians will clean and adjust it, along with inspecting all the gas lines, the flue and other essential components, and oiling the motor. Your system runs more efficiently when it's clean and properly adjusted, which lowers your heating bill.
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