Fire shows need to maintain your furnace

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Fire shows need to maintain your furnace

CREATED Nov 13, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The nights are getting chilly and that means folks are cranking up their furnaces. Sometimes, a fire starts - like one did Monday night in midtown.
Two people and two dogs had to find some place else to sleep after a fire broke out in their home thanks, at least in part, to a faulty furnace.

It only takes a few extra steps before you fire up that furnace for the season--a few extra steps that can save your life.
The fire at that house is a sad example of what can happen if your furnace develops a problem.  But those problems are easy to prevent.

Tucson firefighters think some sort of malfunction made the furnace ignite wood that would normally have been a safe distance from the furnace.
To see what goes into good preventive maintenance for your furnace we visited Lisa Smith.  She's no relation to KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith.  She booked her furnace inspection for her house before she heard about that fire. 

She says, "It makes me very concerned and I'm just glad we had our company come over today and check things out so we can rest peacefully."
Josh Barba from Advantage Air Mechanical checks safety switches designed to shut down the furnace if the flames escape the combustion chambers.
He also checks for gas leaks.

He says, "You want to make sure there's no gas leaking into the room where the furnace is because if there is and the flame kicks on there's the possibility of an explosion."
The inspection checks ducts well away from the furnace too, to look for any sign carbon monoxide is building up.  You can't smell it or see it but it can be deadly.

Josh Barba, and Tucson Fire tell us it's very important not to store things near your furnace.  The space around it may seem very tempting but that can be a real fire hazard, especially if it's something extra flammable like paint or paint thinner.

As for that smoky smell you get when you first fire up the furnace,  that's usually just dust built up over the months when you're not using the furnace.  That smell should go away fairly quickly but Tucson Fire says if you have any reason to think it's something more, call 911.