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DIY Furnace Safety Check for Homeowners

Heating & Cooling Tips

DIY Furnace Safety PictureYou depend on your furnace to keep you warm all winter, but like anything else that’s mechanical, it requires maintenance to ensure that it keeps working smoothly! At Jeremy Services, we provide professional furnace tune-ups and recommend them on an annual basis. We know some homeowners, however, are pretty handy with mechanical things and like the DIY method. If you’re one of those homeowners, here’s a little guide to a DIY furnace safety check. If you see anything out of the ordinary, give us a call and one of our skilled furnace technicians will confirm that your furnace is running safely.

Step-by-Step Safety Check

Since this is a safety check, the first order of business is to stay safe. Make sure to turn off the fuel supply and electrical power before doing any inspection or maintenance on your furnace. It’s best to have your specific furnace maintenance requirements in front of you, as each furnace is made slightly differently.

First things first, change the filter if it is dirty or has not been changed in a couple of months (filters should be replaced every other month under normal operating circumstances). Check all flue pipes and vents for rust, water leaks, and loose connections, gaps, or dents and make sure it is venting properly to the outdoors. Lubricate the fan motor and fan bearing with a few drops of oil twice per year (if required on your unit). If your fan is belt-driven, check the belt to make sure it’s not cracked or loose. Listen to the furnace running and follow up on any strange noises. Check drain lines to make sure they are clear and draining properly. Look for water leaks.

Signs That Your Furnace May Have Problems

Look for these signs when performing a safety check on your furnace or if you suspect a problem:

  • Rusty Vents – these could signal a carbon monoxide leak
  • Water Feeding Back into the Furnace – you could have a clogged drain line
  • Loud Noises – if you hear clanking or banging noises, these indicate a problem; call a professional before any real damage occurs
  • Check the Burner – remove the flame shield and check the burner for corrosion
  • Check to Make Sure There Are Liners inside Your Chimney – if your system ventilates through your chimney, make sure your chimney is lined
    • By-products of combustion like soot, nitrogen dioxide (toxic), and acidic water vapors formed when moisture condenses are all vented out of your home. None of these pollutants should be allowed to leak from the chimney into your living space
  • Gas Smell – vacate the area and call immediately if you smell gas

Other Furnace Safety Tips

  • Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed
  • Do not have anything combustible within six inches of the vent pipe
  • Do not close off more than 20% of your registers; this can cause high resistance resulting in heat buildup in the furnace
  • Do not store combustible materials such as paint thinners, gasoline, etc. near your furnace


If you find anything that doesn’t look or sound right during your safety check, be sure to call the pros at Jeremy Services for help. Call us at (913) 375-0070.