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Clawson Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Is a Gas Furnace Dangerous?


This is a question HVAC professionals hear often. Gas furnaces are the most common method to heat homes in the United States, but homeowners also know that natural gas can create health hazards through combustion or leak of toxic gasses like carbon monoxide. Are natural gas furnaces a serious potential hazard for your house?

Our answer is two-part:

  1. Gas furnaces are designed with safety uppermost in mind and will not pose any danger to a household under most circumstances. If they did, they’d never be allowed in homes in the first palace.
  2. Gas furnaces have the potential to become dangerous, which is true of any gas-burning appliance. However, you can mitigate this potential to almost nothing with the proper steps.

Follow us below to learn more about gas furnace safety—a little knowledge can go a long way.

Regular Maintenance Is the Best Prevention

The most important way to keep a furnace running safely through its service life is to remember to schedule annual fall HVAC maintenance in Hillsboro, OR with professionals technicians. Heating maintenance does many important jobs: it keeps a furnace from losing energy efficiency, it fends off extra repair needs, it keeps the warranty valid, and it ensures the longest service life. But most importantly, it helps the furnace run safely.

Each time one of our techs comes to your house for fall furnace maintenance, they’ll carefully inspect the heating system to look for possible hazards. They’ll examine the heat exchanger to see if there are cracks or corrosion, inspect the gas lines, and test the gas pressure. They’ll check on the various safety mechanisms to ensure they’re operating. If the tech finds anything in the furnace that might make it unsafe, they’ll notify you so you can have it repaired.

Be Cautious of an Old Furnace

As a furnace wears down with age, the chance for it to become unsafe will increase. The main point of concern is the heat exchanger, the metal container that traps the hot combustion gas from the burners and transfers the heat to the air moving around it. If the heat exchanger cracks, toxic gas can enter the air of the house. A heat exchanger may crack because of corrosion due to age, so when a furnace is 15-years-old or older, the danger of cracks grows. A technician will tell you when they believe a furnace is too old to continue to run safely. 

Keep the Area Around the Furnace Clear

This is an important safety step you can take on your own. Please do not store other items near the furnace, as this is a potential fire hazard. Be especially cautious about flammable items such as paint thinner. We recommend the furnace have clearance of a foot on all sides, and that you keep flammable material even further away. 

Move Promptly With Repairs

When your furnace starts to malfunction, shut off the system and call our team for repairs right away. Prompt action will help you keep the furnace running safely.

Clawson Heating & Air Conditioning is “Connecting People to Comfort”! Call us when you think you need furnace repairs.

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