By Bryan Lewis, CHS Manager of Propane Risk Management
With winter approaching, now is the time to clean and inspect your gas furnace. You can look at a few things on your furnace, but maintenance and service work should be left to the experts. The following tips will help keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently, which can help reduce your heating bills and prevent expensive repairs in the future.
If you smell gas, leave the area immediately. If it is safe to do so, turn off the main gas supply valve. To do this, turn the service valve on a propane tank clockwise. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer or gas company. If you can’t reach them, call 911 or your local fire department. Do not return to the building or area of the gas leak until a qualified service technician or emergency responder determines that it is safe to do so.
Before you attempt to use any of your gas appliances, the entire gas system must be checked to ensure that it is leak-free. You should consider installing one or more UL listed gas detectors. Gas detectors sound an alarm if they sense the presence of gas. Gas detectors can provide an additional measure of security. Be sure that you read and follow all of the manufacturers’ installation and maintenance instructions. Some states require that you install a carbon monoxide detector to warn of any possible carbon monoxide that has been leaked into your home. LEARN MORE about propane safety.
Inspect the exterior and the burners.
First, inspect the exterior of the furnace. Look for soot or combustion residue. Then, activate the burners by turning up the thermostat. The flames should be blue and steady; soot and yellow flames can indicate that the gas may not be burning completely. This can create carbon monoxide. If you see signs of either, contact a qualified service technician to repair the issue.
Replace the air filter.
Air filters trap dust and lint to protect the blower and blower motor. Replacing the air filter is one of the easiest maintenance tasks and should be done every one to three months.
Schedule an annual inspection.
It is important to have your furnace and venting inspected and serviced by a qualified service professional on a yearly basis to prevent any major issues.