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Yost & Campbell Heating, Cooling & Generators Blog

How to Keep a Gas Furnace Running Safely

heating-system-upgradesWhen it comes to heating systems, there will always be a certain amount of risk involved. After all, high temperatures can be dangerous in any application, whether it’s in a natural gas furnace or on the stove top.

But unlike a stove top, not everyone knows how to ensure that their gas furnace is running safely. It takes a bit of technical knowledge of HVAC services in Dobbs Ferry to understand just how certain components in a natural gas furnace could result in a safety hazard. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t advice out there that anyone can learn, such as…

Ensure the Home Is Comfortable

It might not sound very technical but ensuring the home is comfortable is one of the first steps in keeping a furnace running safely. A sudden lack of comfort can indicate various kinds of problems. For example:

  • Uneven heating could mean a lack of airflow, which can lead to overheating inside the furnace.
  • A furnace that doesn’t heat the home may be having issues with its heating or startup cycles.
  • The smell of gas from the furnace indicates a potential gas leak, which is a genuine furnace emergency.


A decline in performance is the best indicator that the furnace needs an inspection. That’s why we insist that every homeowner have annual maintenance performed for their heating systems. This helps eliminate the most common problems before they can even begin, thus keeping the home comfortable and safe.

Check the Heat Exchanger

With every maintenance visit, a reputable HVAC technician will inspect the heat exchanger for damage. The heat exchanger will expand and contract due to the high temperatures that run through it during normal operations—this eventually creates cracks.

Cracks in the heat exchanger are a serious hazard. They allow carbon monoxide—a byproduct of natural gas combustion—to escape and flood into the home. Without a carbon monoxide detector to sound the alarm, a CO leak can be deadly.

The first sign of damage or cracks to the heat exchanger should end with the replacement of the exchanger or the entire furnace.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

The air filter’s main purpose is to prevent dust and dirt from entering the sensitive components of the system. If the filter isn’t changed regularly, however, it can begin to restrict airflow. This ends up creating some unique problems that must be avoided.

One example is “flame rollout.” When the furnace is not able to receive enough oxygen, the burner flames will try to reach out beyond the cabinet to find some. This is just as dangerous as it sounds and can damage the furnace.

Another example is overheating. Lack of airflow can make it difficult for the furnace to push air through the system, possibly resulting in too much hot air inside the furnace. The limit switch is in place to help prevent this from becoming an issue, but even the limit switch can eventually break.

To schedule a visit for furnace maintenance, contact Yost & Campbell Heating, Cooling & Generators today.

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