Winter in Canada is often long, damp and cold no matter where you are in the country. Although BC experiences some of the mildest winter weather compared to the rest of Canada, it is still important for residents to ensure their furnace is in good working order. Most furnaces will require some type of basic maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly and reliably. The last thing anyone wants to deal with in the middle of winter is a faulty furnace. Below you’ll find five helpful furnace safety tips from Vancouver HVAC Experts that will go a long way towards making your furnace run safely and efficiently throughout the cold months.
Schedule an Inspection
You’ve probably heard the saying before telling you that “the best defence is a good offence.” That is true when it comes to furnace upkeep. With regularly scheduled inspections from an experienced HVAC technician, you can avoid a lot of potential problems in the future. One of the best times to have your furnace inspected by an expert is at the end of the summer, right before you start frequently using the furnace again. With a full inspection, issues with your motor, fan and heating element that you might otherwise be unaware of can be identified and repaired before they become a major safety issue. In addition to your inspection, you can have your furnace expertly cleaned at this time, which will go a long way towards keeping your furnace running safely and efficiently throughout the whole winter season.
Keep Furnace Area Clear
Most people are aware of how important it is to keep the area over and around a furnace vent clear so air can circulate properly throughout your house. The same goes for the area around the furnace itself. Whether you have a gas or electric furnace, one of the most important things to remember is to keep the air flowing freely around the machine. This means you should avoid storing large items close to your furnace. These items can prevent air from properly flowing into and from the furnace, making it work much harder and consume more energy that it actually needs. Keeping the area around your furnace clear at all times will not just help your furnace run better, it will also help keep your energy bills from spiking in the winter months.
Remove Flammable Items
While you are moving items away from your furnace area, be sure to keep flammable items in particular far away from the furnace as well. Since your furnace regularly generates a significant amount of heat using a flammable element, the potential for a fire increases if there are any flammable items touching the furnace, or in close proximity to the furnace. You may use your furnace room for storage, or it may double as a laundry room in your house. While this is common, it is inadvisable to hang clothing on or near your furnace, since fabrics that come into contact with the hot elements of your furnace can quickly ignite. Chemicals and solutions containing ammonia can also corrode the heat exchanger inside the furnace, which can become a major safety issue over time. It is important to keep these items well away from the furnace, and to ensure they are sealed at all times.
Regular Filter Replacement
Virtually all furnaces use some type of air filter to keep things like dust and debris from circulating in your home. During the winter, when your home is sealed to keep cold air outside, it is especially important to change the filter in your furnace on a regular basis. Even a permanent filter will need to be cleaned or replaced after a certain period of time. A good way to keep track of the lifespan of your filter is to write the date that you installed the filter where it is visible from the outside of your furnace. Typically, filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days, depending on the amount of particles in your air, and the quality of the filter. Regularly replacing your air filter will not only improve the air quality in your home, it will also keep the air flow in your furnace at an efficient level, meaning the furnace won’t have to work as hard to move air throughout your home.
Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
While you’re in the midst of maintaining the basic functions of your furnace, now is a good time to take a look at the status of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A furnace that isn’t working properly has the potential to leak harmful gasses into your home. Some of these gasses, like carbon monoxide, are odourless, and can cause serious illness if not identified and repaired. Take a look at the detectors in your home to make sure they are still in good working order. Be sure to replace any dead batteries, and test each unit before moving on to the next one.
If you would like to learn about more ways you can keep your furnace running more efficiently and safely this winter, or if you are in need of a full furnace inspection, contact the friendly HVAC experts at High Demand Heating today!