3 Common Furnace Maintenance Safety Checks

Scheduling annual furnace maintainance is about more than just keeping your house warm and your utility bills in check. In addition to ensuring that your furnace operates correctly, technicians performing an inspection or tune-up will also look for potential safety faults. Since many furnaces use natural gas as a fuel source, these safety checks are essential to protect your home and family.

Every HVAC contractor will have their own routine and checklist for an inspection, but most will include checks for these three common safety issues.

1. Gas Leak and Pressure Test

If your furnace uses natural gases, it's essential to have a trained technician occasionally check that your system is leak-free and supplying adequate pressure. Gas pressure problems won't just reduce your furnace's efficiency, however. When your furnace receives inadequate gas, it won't be able to combust cleanly, leading to carbon build-up and other serious issues.

Your technician can also inspect the gas plumbing near your furnace for signs of leaks or even use a leak detector for a more thorough check. While gas leaks aren't common, it's critical to discover them as soon as possible so you can repair the problem before it leads to catastrophe.

2. Exhaust and Combustion Inspection

When it comes to safety, the output from your furnace is just as crucial as the input. After combustion, your furnace produces heat and harmful exhaust gases. Modern, high-efficiency furnaces attempt to extract as much energy as possible before expelling their exhaust. They typically also include a draft inducer motor to help push exhaust fumes through the system.

Your technician will check that your exhaust components are unobstructed and working correctly. A clear exhaust path improves your furnace's efficiency while preventing harmful fumes from entering your home. Finally, a combustion analyzer can allow your technician to determine if your furnace is running efficiently and cleanly.

3. Safety Switch Checks

Your furnace includes several safety switches that help protect you from dangerous failures. For example, your furnace will include one or more flame roll-out sensors to detect the presence of flames outside of the combustion chamber. Flame roll-out is a dangerous condition that can allow exhaust gases to enter your home, so these sensors are vital parts of your furnace.

Part of any inspection will include a check and test of essential sensors such as these. Your technician can confirm that your furnace's safety equipment is working as it should be, ensuring that your furnace can react appropriately and shut down if it detects a dangerous situation.