As the cold winter months approach us, many of us turn to our furnace to keep our homes cozy and warm. Although furnaces are a great way to heat our homes, there are some precautions that we should take to safely operate our furnaces and avoid problems in the long run.
The Monterey Park Fire Department wants you to start the season off right with the following furnace safety tips:
Change Your Air Filter
It is important to change your furnace filter regularly. A clean air filter will help your furnace burn more efficiently and will help keep dust from being circulated through your home. A dirty filter can cause a number of efficiency, performance and safety issues, as well as result in furnace failure. Change or clean your air filter every 1-3 months during the winter when the furnace is being used the most. Also, prior to starting your furnace for the first time after the summer season, be sure to vacuum dust and any debris in and around the furnace. These dust particles can burn and give off a heavy smoke odor throughout your home.
Annual Furnace Check-Up
Have your furnace cleaned and checked every year by a professional. An annual furnace check-up is essential to make sure that the system is working well and operating efficiently. During the inspection, your furnace will be checked for problems such as carbon monoxide leaks or frayed electrical wires that could lead to safety hazards in your home.
Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If your furnace isn’t functioning properly, one of the biggest threats that it can impose to your home is a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a type of gas that is colorless and odorless, so there is no way to detect high levels of it on your own. A carbon monoxide leak can cause us to have flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion and even death. It is imperative to check that all of your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
Keep the Area Around Your Furnace Clear
In order to minimize the chance of a fire, it would be smart to keep the area around your furnace clear. Flammable products such as papers, sawdust, old rags and wood scraps should be kept a safe distance away from the furnace. Liquids such as gasoline and kerosene should be stored in tightly sealed containers, since vapors from flammable liquids easily ignite.
Division Chief Matt Hallock, PIO, Monterey Park Fire Department