In the cold winter months, just about every household in Cleveland uses their furnace. When the nighttime temperatures drop near or below freezing, people rely on their furnaces to remain comfortable in their own homes. But, what if you turn on your furnace and it smells funny or it doesn’t seem to work properly? Could running the furnace lead to a house fire? This is a valid concern, especially if you have a family.
Can a faulty furnace be a fire hazard? Unfortunately, yes. If a gas furnace is old, or if it has faulty or malfunctioning parts, it can lead to a house fire. Usually, when a house fire is caused by a gas furnace, it’s because the furnace was poorly maintained. Also, an outdated furnace that uses older technology may not comply with current safety standards, and therefore may pose a higher risk than a newer unit.
Possible problems with a gas furnace:
- Faulty parts (manufacturer may be responsible)
- Malfunctioning parts (may be manufacturer’s responsibility)
- The wrong size furnace may distribute too much carbon monoxide for the building
- A lack of maintenance can cause parts to degrade and malfunction
Cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, explosions, and house fires involving furnaces are usually traced back to faulty or malfunctioning parts. While a furnace that is too old, or too big for the house is an issue, more often than not accidents are caused by unmaintained furnaces.
If a furnace is poorly maintained, the most likely consequence is a house fire. Often, too much natural gas will leak into the air and since gas is very volatile, the simple lighting of a candle or a match can cause an explosion and set the whole house on fire.
Even if the gas leak does not lead to an explosion, the carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as nausea, depression, headaches, dizziness, breathing problems, unconsciousness, and death. Beyond that, gas leaks can trigger respiratory problems, such as asthma.
What Can You Do?
Before cranking on the furnace when cold weather arrives, we recommend that homeowners have the furnace inspected by an HVAC professional from Green Home Solutions. If it’s in the middle of the winter and you’re concerned about your furnace, feel free to contact us to schedule a service call.
We can inspect the area around the furnace to ensure there is enough air circulation and we can check all of the parts to ensure it’s in good working order and does not pose any unnecessary threats to your household.