You rely on your home's heating system to keep you warm, and if you have a furnace, you need to know when there are signs of an impending emergency. It is also helpful to know how to protect yourself against dangerous situations that could arise from your furnace. Assuming you have a gas furnace, you face unique dangers that owners of electrical furnaces do not face. One of the best ways to protect your family against furnace dangers is to ensure that you get routine furnace maintenance. The following points identify two dangerous conditions that gas furnaces can pose and ways to protect against them.

Carbon Monoxide

This odorless gas is sometimes dubbed "the silent killer" because it can leak into homes. Homeowners will likely not know that they have a carbon monoxide leak if they do not have a carbon monoxide detector. All homes with gas appliances should have carbon monoxide detectors located near each appliance. This is the best defense against knowing when the toxic gas is in the air. 

A furnace that leaks carbon monoxide does so from the heat exchanger. A cracked heat exchanger is not something that the average homeowner would be able to identify on their own. This phenomenon is something that an HVAC technician would identify during routine service appointments. However, it is possible for a heat exchanger to get damaged between service appointments, requiring an emergency heating repair

Furnace Fires

Charred and sooty areas near a furnace are a sign that it has almost caused a fire. You should not turn on a furnace that has these signs. Some furnace fires are caused by air filters that need to be changed. Clogged air filters do not filter the air properly and can cause overheating, resulting in a furnace fire. A fire can also occur when there are combustion and fuel issues. Serious combustion issues that cause the build-up of fuel in the chamber can cause an explosion.

An HVAC contractor is a good resource to use to learn more about gas furnaces and identifying hazardous conditions that require repair. They can make emergency heating repairs, which will keep your family safe and warm. You can depend on them to help you identify when it is time to upgrade your furnace. Upgrading your furnace can improve your safety, and you will have a furnace that is covered by a warranty when/if repairs are needed.