Hazards of Old Furnaces & the Importance of Preventative Maintenance

Posted on: January 18, 2016

The season to fire up the furnace is among us, even for Southern California. With this year’s unseasonably cold winter (thanks to El Niño) you’ll be using your heating system more regularly.

That’s why it’s important to understand the health and safety hazards of an outdated heating system. Our team of experts provide some valuable information below on how to ensure your heating system is not putting your home, family ….and wallet at risk.

What is Considered an ‘Outdated Furnace’?

Furnaces 20 years or older are especially dangerous since they all have pilot lights. The average life expectancy of a furnace is between 16 and 20 years. Although newer furnace models with pilot lights have sensors that will automatically shut down if a problem is detected, having a pilot lights still pose a significant safety concern.

Health and Safety Concerns Related to Older Furnaces

Carbon monoxide poisoning is especially common with outdated furnaces. Older pilot lights are typically controlled manually, and even a slight adjustment defect can produce carbon monoxide gas. Today’s homes are built more “air-tight”, leaving furnaces starved of the necessary oxygen it requires to burn fuels completely. When this occurs, toxic gases build up inside the home.

According to statistics compiled by US Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200 people across the nation are known to die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by toxic gas build up produced by their heating systems. In addition, around 10,000 cases of carbon monoxide-related injuries are diagnosed each year- including headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and seasonal depression.

House fires caused by pilot lights, bad ventilation, and/or gas line leaks are another major safety hazard of an outdated heating system. The combustible materials or any flammable objects near a furnace create an increased possibility of fire or explosion. Gasoline, solvents, or other volatile substances emit vapors that can be ignited by the heat or flame inside a gas furnace. Additionally, natural gas which has no odor, taste, smell or color can be omitted from gas line leaks and are extremely flammable and could cause a catastrophic fire or explosion.

Keep Your Heating Cost Efficient With a New Furnace

The oxide required for older furnaces is known to destroy valves, cause gaskets to leak, and bearings to go dry, inevitably creating more risk of malfunctioning parts or total system breakdown. The older a furnace is, the more likely its parts will malfunction, causing repairs to become gradually more expensive. Older furnaces also require more gas to create heat. Replacing your furnace with a more energy efficient system will save you in long term repair costs…. And you might actually smile next time you get your gas and electric bill.

Furnace Repair & Heating System Preventative Maintenance

Not only do Action Air’s experts encourage you to maintain a safe heating system for your home, but several US agencies and organizations do as well. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Lung Association encourage regular maintenance of older furnaces and up-to-date of home heating systems in order to keep homes all over America safe.

If you are not ready to replace your old furnace, service and maintenance at least twice a year (every 6 months) is necessary to insure your home and family are not at risk, especially if you have a furnace operating on a manual pilot light. Our team at Action Air provides 24 hour emergency service and competitive pricing on HVAC service and maintenance agreements.

Talk to an expert at Action Air today for a free consultation on replacing or servicing your heating system!