Furnaces work using gas or electricity as a power source. By their very nature, gas and electricity can be quite volatile. Poor handling of these elements can cause a fire or safety hazard. That’s why many homeowners have questions about what you should not keep around a furnace.
So, what should you see when you look in your furnace room? The right answer is always “not much.” We understand that storage space in most homes in Vaughan is low. Similarly, the demands of modern life may mean you have to house a lot of stuff.
However, housing certain objects in your furnace room can constitute a safety hazard for your home and the heating device itself. That’s why we’ll discuss all you need to know about housing your furnace.
From objects to avoid around your furnace to maintenance and safety tips, here’s what you need to know!
What Not to Store Around Your Furnace
The list below is by no means an exhaustive one. But it’s a good start. Follow the instructions in this section, and you’re well on your way to ensuring safe furnace operation in your Vaughan home.
Don’t Store Anything
The general room of thumb is not to store any foreign object in your furnace room. Any foreign object in the room must be adding to the furnace’s smooth operation.
It’s better to remove the object if it isn’t contributing to the furnace’s operation. Do that, and you’ll be following a golden rule we like to call, “better safe than sorry”.
It’s easier to follow the advice above when you have a small utility room. The situation is different for house owners with their furnace in a basement or a large utility room. Then, it becomes a question of how much space you should have around your home.
We recommend clearing a path of several feet around your furnace. Keep the foreign objects at least 4-6 feet away from the furnace.
Clear the Path in Every Direction
The next answer to what you should keep around your furnace is space, plenty of it. Safe furnace installation practices demand clearance of at least four feet in every direction.
Modern furnaces need optimal airflow to draw and return air that heats your home. The clearance allowance is important to ensure prior airflow around your furnace. A three-foot clearance will ensure your furnace doesn’t have to work too hard to heat your home.
You should also remember your furnace won’t remain in great working condition forever. A repair technician will need ample space to deliver maintenance services.
Above, we explore how ensuring optimal airflow is the best way to use your furnace safely. Part of ensuring optimal airflow is making allowances for great ventilation.
You shouldn’t keep a closed door around a working furnace for starters. An open door contributes to proper airflow, which, in turn, enhances your furnace’s smooth operation.
We understand it can be hard to leave the door to the furnace room open. Doing so will mean enduring the hum and drum of heavy machinery working. Plus, an open door can also be a safety hazard if you have kids or pets in the home.
It’s better to use a vented door if you have kids in your house. You can keep a vented door close while also ensuring proper ventilation in the furnace room.
Most people ask what you shouldn’t keep around a furnace because they have safety concerns. Well, darkness is a safety hazard that can cause accidents in the furnace room.
Adequate lighting in your furnace room is key to ensuring you or a repair technician can move around safely. We recommend installing light bulbs in your furnace room. Also, conduct periodic checks on the lightbulbs.
Our expert furnace repair technicians recommend keeping a flashlight near the entrance to your furnace room. This precautionary step will come in handy on days when you have a power outage.
Storage Boxes and Furniture
Most homeowners in Vaughan own a furnace that works using gas or electricity. And your furnace will get hot while drawing power from these energy sources. Therefore, you want to avoid housing storage boxes near the furnace.
Multiple storage boxes can cause a hot furnace to start overheating. This possibility is more imminent when the storage boxes also prevent optimal airflow.
Storage boxes with rubber or plastic products in them can melt due to heat coming from your furnace. You may also lose valuable properties thanks to damage from a hot furnace.
The same applies to furniture pieces in your furnace room. The heat from a furnace can warp and damage wooden furniture products.
Storage boxes are definitely one of the objects to avoid putting in your furnace room. But in instances where they have to be present, arrange them neatly. Don’t allow clutter to become a fixture around your furnace.
Any object that constitutes a fire hazard shouldn’t be around your furnace. Heat exchange is crucial to a furnace’s operation. This operating principle means a working furnace will always get hot. Consequently, it’s never a great idea to keep flammable objects around a working furnace.
By nature, flammable items are a fire hazard that can cause serious accidents. Flammable objects that shouldn’t be around your furnace include:
- Fuel and Diesel
- Cleaning products
- Cat litter
- Wood chips
- Cardboard boxes
- Paper bags
A Safety Gap
Due to safety concerns, you likely have many questions about what to keep around your furnace. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure your furnace room is home to safety devices.
Professional furnace installation experts often install a carbon monoxide monitor and a smoke detector alongside the appliance. The CO monitor should sit 5 feet above the ground and have a digital monitor displaying the carbon monoxide level in the room. This way, you can easily tell if there is a problem.
A CO monitor in your furnace room also requires periodic maintenance. Check the wiring to ensure optimum connections and change the batteries frequently.
The Space Your Furnace Needs to Work
The manufacturer’s manual is the first place to look for directions on the ideal space to have around your furnace. You can also check the local government office near for any furnace clearance recommendations.
The general rule is to ensure the furnace is at least 30 inches away from all walls in the room. Objects and boxes near your furnace should stay three feet away from it. This clearance is important to allow service experts to work on your furnace comfortably.
Ventilation and airflow are particularly important for furnaces equipped with metal flues. These furnaces work by drawing air for combustion in the room. Therefore, poor airflow will mean carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes flowing back into the room.
You also need to check that the space enhances airflow and ventilation. This assessment step is critical if you own an aging furnace with a metal flue.
This furnace model draws combustion air from the surrounding location. If there’s not enough air, dangerous gas fumes and toxic carbon monoxide may flow back into your home.
Sometimes, the furnace room may house other appliances like your heater. You may need to install more openings in the room if you have a heater alongside the furnace. Wall vents and louvered doors will increase airflow around your furnace.
Although, considerations that boost airflow around your furnace may not be necessary if you use newer, high-efficiency furnace models. These models have PVC piping that draws in and lets out air.
And, of course, we can always help you answer questions about objects and the ideal spacing to have around your furnace. Simply call our furnace installation and maintenance professionals.
How to Choose the Right Room for Your Furnace
Now, you know what you should not have around a furnace in your home. The answers to this query often guide the decision of where to install a furnace in your home.
You’ll also need to consider these points before choosing a room for your furnace.
It’s important to install your furnace in a room where fresh air is at a premium. Increased energy bills, inefficient heating, and frequent repairs are some downsides to poor air intake in the furnace room.
A furnace needs a room with a furnace vent. It can be a pre-existing vent or one you install alongside the furnace.
This consideration is a function of the type of furnace you own. A gas furnace is best in a room close to your home’s natural gas line. Conversely, an electric furnace will need a room with electrical connections.
Furnaces generate a lot of heat while they work. The same applies to dryers, washers, and heaters. It’s something to think about if you’re looking to install a furnace in a room with other household appliances. Doing so means you may run into furnace overheating problems down the road.
Gas furnaces can generate up to 140,000 BTU every hour they’re in operation. This energy output means the furnace will need air amounting to 70 cubic feet every minute. The general standard is 30 cubic feet of air for every cubic foot of gas your furnace burns while working.
You’ll need to remember this calculation if the furnace works in the same room as a dryer. This combination may result in inadequate air intake and overheating in the furnace room.
The furnace will be unable to handle its combustion stage. And improper combustion may lead to carbon monoxide building up in the furnace room. Plus, poor air intake means the furnace may have no choice but to send backdraft gases back into your home.
Related Article: What is the Most Efficient Way to Run Your Furnace?
So, Where Should You Install Your Furnace
Where you install your furnace determines the objects you’ll have around it. We recommend the following rooms for safe furnace installation.
The majority of homes in Vaughan come with a basement. And, they’re the perfect place to install your furnace. The furnace will stay out of the way, and you can easily control the objects you place around it. The only caveat is installing the furnace above ground to protect against flooding.
Utility rooms are specially-built rooms usually in the centre of the house. They often house appliances like a water heater or furnace.
New homes have an alcove area in the garage room. This alcove area can house the furnace without compromising parking space for vehicles in your home.
Large Laundry Rooms
Airflow and ventilation concerns mean it’s not the best idea to install a furnace in a room with a dryer. However, there is an exception to this unwritten rule. You can always install both devices in the same room if it’s big enough.
General Furnace Safety Tips
It’s impossible to talk about what to install near your furnace without covering general safety tips. We all know how crucial a working furnace is in Vaughan. The winters can get terribly cold. And when they do, you’ll need your furnace working overtime to keep you warm.
Regular upkeep is essential to keep your furnace in great working condition. A regular maintenance habit may be the difference between your furnace catching fire and staying in great working condition.
Other tips to keep your furnace in great working condition include:
Vacuum the Room Regularly
Dust and lint can become a fire hazard in a furnace room. Therefore, you must prevent dust buildup by vacuuming the furnace room regularly. You can also check the manufacturer’s manual for details on cleaning the furnace room. Or you can contract a professional furnace maintenance service to handle the regular cleaning.
The same level of attention goes even if you own a wall furnace. You’ll have to clean the inner burner compartment every month to prevent lint and dirt buildup.
Yellow or orange flames coming from your gas furnace indicate it’s time to clean it. Either that or there are objects around your furnace blocking proper airflow.
Ensure Optimal Airflow
Your furnace needs fresh air to operate seamlessly. A furnace with poor air intake will start to bite into oxygen present in your home. And, of course, reduced oxygen levels aren’t an ideal prospect for residents in the home.
Poor airflow can also affect your furnace’s operation leaving you with uneven heating in your home. The furnace will start to work harder to heat your home.
Have Set Furnace Rules
This furnace safety tip is doubly important if you have kids in your home. The house furnace rarely sees usage during the summer months. Therefore, kids may not realize how dangerous a furnace can be when the winter months come around, and it starts to work. It’s up to you to sensitize your kids and lay down the rules.
Help your children understand that the furnace can get very hot. You should also let them know it’s never a good idea to play around the furnace. You can even go as far as installing child-proof locks on the door to the furnace.
Schedule Periodic Inspections
It’s important to carry out periodic inspections on your furnace. We recommend a yearly tune-up just before the winter season gets in full swing. This tune-up can help you identify potential problems and prevent future breakdowns.
We recommend leaving furnace repair and maintenance to the professionals. Accidents can happen when untrained professionals try to repair a faulty furnace.
Related Article: Can a Furnace be Installed in a Bedroom Closet?
Above we have covered what you should not have around a furnace in major detail. Flammable objects, storage boxes and cleaning products are some of the obvious picks. We’ve also covered some other furnace installation considerations that often go under the radar.
ALP Heating can step in if you still have concerns about where to install your furnace. Our furnace installation specialists will assess your home and determine the best room to install the appliance. Contact us today to learn more.