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When taking steps to ensure furnace safety, the biggest piece of advice we can give is to make sure that you do not fall victim to carbon monoxide, a deadly odorless. Carbon monoxide is created by an improperly maintained furnace when the fuel-burning process is interrupted. It is imperative that the unit has adequate ventilation. You may want to consider installing a fresh-air intake. In addition, make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and have your furnace checked on a regular basis by a qualified service technician.

If you use a gas furnace and can smell gas, leave the home immediately. Bring your cell phone or use a neighbors phone to call a repair person or the gas company as quickly as possible. If you can, shut off the gas main from outside your home.

5 Important Safety Tips

  1. Clean Filters: This is the easiest tip to follow. If you have disposable filters, change them regularly. If your filters are permanent, wash, vacuum or brush them monthly during periods of heavy use.
  2. Check Exhaust Vent: Make sure the vent pipe is cleared of obstructions such as animal nests, or leaves or other debris. Also, keep your roof exhaust vents cleared of snow and ice.
  3. Inspect Blower: Vacuum and dirt that may have accumulated, and oil the motor if you owners manual suggests it. Also, inspect the pulleys and v-belt for wear. If that belt moves more than in inch when you push it, tighten it.
  4. Keep Furnace Clean: Don’t ever use your furnace closet for storage of drying clothes.
  5. Check the Flue Assembly: Once your furnace cools after use, check the alignment and rigidity of the flue assembly. It should run in a straight line from the top of the unit to the ceiling. Make sure the flue is attached to the collar of the furnace. Also, check for any loose wiring that might be near the flue. If you find it, move it and secure it well away from the flue pipe.

Furnace Cleaning and Tune Up, with Carbon Monoxide Safety Inspection

A furnace cleaning and tune up will only do so much. The technician can come in and clean all the parts, check the wiring, make sure the thermostat is correct, but what happens if something isn’t right? It might be a minor repair, but who knows if that small problem will lead to bigger ones down the road. This is why you have a furnace cleaning and tune up – to catch the small stuff. But if you want to get a head start to ensure your furnace will not break down in the middle of winter, then replacement is the best option.

If you install a new Nicor Gas high-efficiency furnace between October 2013 and May 31, 2014, you’ll receive one of these rebates:

  • Installing one with 97% or higher Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) receives a $400 rebate
  • 95% AFUE receives $300 rebate
  • 92% or lower AFUE receives $200 rebate

All rebate applications must be postmarked or submitted online within 90 days of installation, or by June 30, 2014.