Energy and Safety Tip – Have Your Furnace Cleaned Annually

Did you know that your furnace and air conditioner accounts for up to 60% of your home’s utility bills? Did you also know that if you equipment is dirty or slightly running a little rough it could be costing you additional money each month? Each heating season you need to have your furnace professionally cleaned by a licensed service company.

There are a few things that you as a homeowner can do to help with your system such as replacing you air filter at least every other month, visually inspecting the burner flame (it should be blue in color, yellow is bad) and also keeping items clear from the front and sides of the furnace. However a professional company will dis-assemble the furnace and clean it properly, inspect the heat exchanger, inspect the flue piping and fittings, test the ignition, ensure proper burning, inspect the electrical components, test all the equipment safeties and perform a carbon monoxide test.
I would say that utility savings is probably the second best reason to have your furnace cleaned and inspected every year, the first reason is safety. Each year over 500 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, many which could have been prevented with a furnace clean and tune.
Here are some additional Safety Tips for you from the US Department of Fire Safety.
  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Aviod using electrical space heaters in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, (otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space). Use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on Home Fire Safety.