4 Potential Dangers of Using a Natural Gas Furnace

A man works on a furnace.

When it comes to home heating, a natural gas furnace is the preferred choice for many homeowners. A gas heating system turns out to be a cost-effective choice in the long run when compared to an electric furnace. This is partly because gas costs less than electricity. Gas furnaces also work better in home heating for those in freezing climates because gas heating is more effective than electricity. Gas is also more energy-efficient than other fuels. However, there’s also a downside to gas-fueled heating furnaces.

1. Poisoning

Certain by-products may be produced from gas furnace operations. Where leaks in the furnace system are present, the situation can be a lot worse. Unchecked emissions from a gas furnace cause indoor air to become contaminated. A faulty flue vent can cause a reversal of emissions inwards to the house rather than expelling bad air outside. Carbon monoxide and methane emissions can cause allergic reactions. The situation may be even more severe for household members who are already ill, have asthma or have weak immune systems. Where household members experience unexplained headaches, vomiting, nausea, or breathing difficulties, it is best to vacate the home immediately. Seek medical help to ascertain the cause of discomfort. Also notify the gas company so that they can undertake a thorough inspection of the home. Severe health complications may result from gas poisoning, even death.

2. Electrical Shock

A gas furnace has some electrical circuits as part of the system structure. Both low and high voltage circuits are fitted into the furnace to enable energy distribution. It is highly dangerous to proceed with maintenance work on the furnace before you turn off the main power supply. To open the furnace without disconnecting power can cause an electrical shock or even death.

3. Explosion

This is one of the most severe dangers associated with a gas furnace. It is caused by a gas leak in the furnace system. Gas may also leak from the gas lines leading to the house. Undetected gas leaks pose a grave danger to the house occupants. Should you detect the odor of gas, it is extremely important that you avoid igniting any sort of flame. Avoid operating any electrical gadget, be it a computer, switch, or cell phone. This will prevent a possible explosion. Evacuate all members from the house as soon as possible. Turn off the gas supply to the house at the gas meter located outside the house. Call the fire department or gas company from a neighbor’s house.

4. Fire

Accidental fires may be caused by improper storage of items in the house. Some materials can activate combustion especially if kept in the furnace room. Do not keep gasoline, cleaning powders or solutions, paper, or wood close to the furnace. Some of these materials may emit deadly fumes that could trigger a fire and explosion. Utmost care must be exercised when it comes to the storage of items, especially in the furnace room.