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Riley Heating & Air Blog

Important Safety Tips for Gas Furnaces


Most of our customers use gas furnaces in Columbus, OH to heat their homes in winter. There are good reasons gas furnaces are so widely used: they provide powerful heating that many other systems can’t match, work quickly at getting heat to rooms, and cost less to run than an electric furnace. However, gas furnaces have a slight drawback, which is that any use of natural gas comes with some risk.

We don’t want to scare you away from using a gas furnace because, with the right precautions, you probably won’t run into any dangers. We want to help you have the safest winter possible, so below are our best furnace safety tips…

ONE: Always schedule professional maintenance in the fall

The first part of running a safe furnace is keeping it properly maintained. Proper maintenance requires the assistance of HVAC professionals. We recommend you arrange for a maintenance tune-up and inspection with us each fall to prep the furnace for the winter. Maintenance benefits a furnace in many ways: better efficiency, longer service life, and greater reliability. But great safety is the best benefit of all. We’ll give your furnace a safety inspection to see if there are any concerns we need to address, and the tune-up will stop future problems.

TWO: Keep the area around the furnace clear

Furnaces are often located in places like the basement where people tend to store objects—and often store them haphazardly. To prevent heat or possible flame roll-out from the furnace igniting nearby items, keep the area around the furnace clear for at least three feet. Be extremely cautious about storing highly flammable materials anywhere near the furnace, such as fuel or cans of paint thinner.

THREE: Regularly change the furnace filter

The furnace filter protects the furnace’s interior from dust and other debris contamination. It will become clogged after one to three months and begin to negatively affect the furnace’s performance. One potential effect of a dirty furnace filter is the furnace overheating, so please keep up with the routine filter changes. We recommend starting the winter with a fresh filter in place.

FOUR: Check your carbon monoxide detectors

You need to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your house as a safety measure if you use natural gas. These detectors won’t do you much good if they’re not working or have failed batteries, however! As part of your regular fall chores, test each CO detector by pressing the TEST button and listening for a reassuring beep. 

FIVE: Leave any repairs to professionals

If your furnace stops working, you can do some basic checks on it: changing the filter, looking to see if a circuit breaker has tripped, or changing the batteries on the thermostat. But don’t go any further with actual repair attempts that require opening the furnace cabinet and using tools.

It’s dangerous to work on a gas furnace if you aren’t licensed and trained for the job. Always call our technicians to handle repairs. 

Contact Riley Heating & Air when you need service for your home’s furnace. You can Rely on Riley! 

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