MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 04/30/12 -- A safe, efficient and reliable furnace is key to a comfortable home, but heating systems cannot afford to be neglected. Although all types of furnaces are designed to run trouble-free, regular maintenance is required to keep them functioning properly and to prevent the potential for smoke damage, fire damage and even carbon monoxide issues.
Certain technical aspects of furnace maintenance require the attention of a professional, but there are steps you can take to help ensure the health of both your furnace and your home.
Replacing the furnace filter is exceptionally easy, and is crucial for your furnace's airflow - and could prevent smoke damage, fire damage and an expensive repair job further down the line. To identify if the filter needs to be replaced, remove the filter and hold it up to a light bulb. If the bulb is clearly outlined, the filter is good, but if you can't see the bulb, the filter needs replacing. Households with pets and smokers will require more regular filter changes.
Your furnace should be professionally cleaned and serviced once a year, but you can carry out your own inspections by checking for signs of smoke damage and oil leaks, and paying attention to any odd smells or soot in the furnace room. Odd noises at the beginning of the burn cycle, such as a puff or bang, could indicate that unburned oil has pooled and could cause a fire.
Heating vents are designed to circulate air, so they shouldn't be blocked by furniture. Keep them clear of dirt, dust and pet hair to help your furnace run efficiently.
Furnace Room Usage
Do not use your furnace room as a storage closet: keeping flammable materials near your furnace is not recommended. Moreover, if your furnace does not have a vent leading to the exterior of your home, your furnace room needs to hold at least 50 cubic feet of air per 1,000 BTU/h.
An unhealthy furnace can lead to an unhealthy and even dangerous home environment, and warning signs like smoke damage and fire damage will not necessarily be limited to the furnace room. Blow backs, caused by ignition problems, often result in smoke damage - like oily black patterns of soot - throughout the house, and fire damage to the furnace itself.
Repairing such damage is not a DIY project. You should shut off your furnace, notify your insurance company and enlist the help of restoration professionals to begin work immediately, because time is critical to reduce permanent damage to some surfaces. Do not attempt to clean any smoke damage yourself: improper cleaning - especially for carpets and upholstery - could increase the loss severity and make replacement necessary.
About ServiceMaster Restore
ServiceMaster Restore professionals are available day or night to respond to smoke damage and fire damage in your home. Our professional staff is here to provide emotional and technical support, helping mitigate the problem and prevent further damage from occurring. When fire damage or smoke damage occurs, we will work to restore your property - and your peace of mind. You can also rely on ServiceMaster Restore for professional services including Disaster Recovery, Disaster Restoration, Water Damage Cleanup and Flood Damage Restoration.