3 Key Furnace Safety Features

Furnaces have an underserved reputation among heating systems for poor safety, particularly gas-powered furnaces. There is no question that carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous, and faulty wiring on an electrical furnace might lead to a fire. However, these occurrences are rare because furnaces have safety features to prevent hazards. If you keep your furnace well maintained, it should pose no more danger to you than any other comfort system.

Rely on ACI Northwest for the maintenance and heating repair in Spokane, WA that will keep your furnace in the safety zone.

Here are three key safety features we’d like to highlight:

  1. Thermocouple/mercury sensor: A potential safety hazard in a furnace that uses a pilot light is that the pilot light might go out and stop burning the gas from the burners. If this happens, gas will flood the combustion chamber, and then a single spark could cause an explosion. To prevent this, the gas valve is hooked to a device called a thermocouple, which records the heat coming from the pilot light. If the pilot light goes out, the electric current in the thermocouple stops, causing the gas valve to close. Recent furnaces use a mercury sensor to perform the same job.
  2. Limit switch: This device serves a function similar to the thermocouple/mercury sensor. It is located just below the plenum of the furnace and detects its temperature. If the plenum grows too hot, the limit switch shuts off the burner to prevent flames from getting outside the cabinet. The limit switch can be adjusted, but we do not advise you do this on your own: let a technician decide the best setting for it.
  3. Circuit breakers: For electric furnaces, the most important safety feature is one that applies to much of your house: the circuit breaker panel.  To prevent a power overload or possibly a fire, the circuit breaker will trip and shut off the furnace. If your furnace repeatedly trips the circuit breakers, you should have a repair technician examine it, since something larger may be wrong.

A furnace isn’t an inherently dangerous piece of equipment as long as it has its safety features working. It’s essential to schedule regular maintenance for a furnace so that all these fail-safe devices are functioning correctly. You should have a maintenance check-up once a year to catch any possible failures, safety concerns, or upcoming repair needs.

At ACI Northwest, we want your family to stay safe throughout the winter. We are ready to bring you the heating repair in Spokane, WA you need to keep your furnace working without danger—and we can answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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