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Appliance and Equipment Safety

Heating and Venting

Important Information About Furnaces

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

  • It’s important that you have your furnace inspected by a qualified specialist according to manufacturer guidelines to ensure that it is in good working condition. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified. 
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Keep trash and other combustible material away from your heating and water heating systems.
  • Keep natural gas vents unobstructed and free of debris. Some direct-vent and high-efficiency appliances have direct side wall outdoor vents and air intakes that could become obstructed during heavy snowfalls.
opening up floor vent heater

Signs Your Heating System Needs Attention

  • Gas flames that are pale yellow or wavy
  • Gas appliances that are not vented to the outdoors 
  • Rust, corrosion or excessive dust on gas appliances 
  • Excessively dirty, clogged or missing furnace air filters 
  • Gas appliance valves that are missing or not properly installed 
  • Blocked, broken, rusted, disconnected, corroded or unsealed appliance vent piping 
  • Soot near burners or appliance venting 
  • Venting not approved by the appliance manufacturer or not venting to the proper place outdoors 
  • Evidence of discoloration at the appliance burner, burner access door or vent area 
  • Gas appliances installed in a garage less than 18 inches above the garage floor 
  • Gas appliances that are missing a fire door
boiler gas heater water

Hot Water Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A thermostat setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) may be necessary for residential water heaters to reduce or eliminate the risk of most tap water scald injuries. Consumers should consider lowering the thermostat to the lowest settings that will satisfy hot water needs for all clothing and dish washing machines. 

Never take hot water temperature for granted. Always hand test before using, especially when bathing children and infants.

How to test your water temperature:
1. Run the hot water for five minutes.
2. Put a reliable thermometer that registers at least 150 degrees under the water stream.
3. If your water is more than 125 degrees, lower the thermostat on your water heater. If you can't find the temperature controls or have any questions, call a qualified contractor or your landlord for help.

Regular Maintenance That Is Required

  • Clean air filters regularly and replace as needed.
  • Ensure furnace panels and grills are in place and that the fan compartment door is closed when the furnace is on. Leaving these doors open can cause carbon monoxide to build up. 
  • Check to see that the furnace or boiler is free of dust, rust or corrosion. 
  • Keep the space around the furnace clean and clear.

Other Important Heating Tips

  • Never use a gas range as a space heater. Doing so can cause carbon monoxide to build-up.
  • Put space heaters on a level surface and keep them away from curtains and other flammable objects. 
  • If you use a natural gas or kerosene space heater, be sure it is vented to the outside.

Appliance Connectors

Appliance connectors are corrugated metal tubes used to connect gas appliances to fuel gas supply pipes. Some older brass connectors have a serious flaw in how their tubing was joined to their end pieces. Learn how to spot the differences between good and bad appliance connectors below.