If you’ve been consistently using your furnace since the beginning of fall when the temperatures turned downward and still haven’t had professional maintenance done, you may be thinking you’re off the hook–especially if your furnace seems to be working “just fine.”
But here’s the thing, “just fine” is not always “good enough” when it comes to a furnace–this is especially true with a gas-powered furnace. While gas-powered appliances are not inherently dangerous, they can become so if they’re not properly cared for, and your gas furnace is no exception. Read on to learn more!
The Problem with an Ill-Maintained Gas Furnace
The face of the matter is that when you bring heat and natural gas together, there’s always going to be an inherent risk. Furnace technology has advanced to the point that these incidences have become rare, however that’s only thanks to careful maintenance and repairs from trained professionals.
If you allow your furnace to fall into disrepair, you could fall victim to:
Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas if there is too much exposure to it. It is produced by the combustion gases inside your furnace and can leak out if there is a crack in or damage to the heat exchanger, or if there is a problem with the venting system.
While you can install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you to exposure, it’s a good idea to try to never get to that point. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real danger to homes throughout the country, leading to hundreds of illnesses and even fatalities each year.
We say this not as a scare tactic, but only to stress the importance of caring for your gas-powered appliances, and your furnace is included in this list.
Natural Gas Leaks
Natural gas is actually odorless, but your gas utility company adds a harmless chemical to give it the distinct smell of rotting eggs. So, if you detect this smell around your furnace or in your home at all, please evacuate your home immediately and call your utility company’s emergency line.
Gas leaks in furnaces often happen due to problems with the gas valves, or from cracks in the heat exchangers.
It’s scary to consider, but the truth is, a furnace that is in disrepair can cause a house fire. The main reason for this is due to problems with oxygen consumption in the furnace–if there isn’t enough, then the flames from the jets can cause a spark and subsequent fire outside of the system.
Now, this is a lot more likely in an older furnace than it is in a newer model. Furnaces manufactured in the last decade or so have many safety features in place that allow them to automatically shut off before any of this becomes a problem. But you can think of maintenance as an extra layer of protection for your furnace, and therefore your home.