A gas furnace is an integral part of many homes. If your furnace quits, could you repair it -- or will you spend a fortune on a service call? Quiz yourself to see if you could fix your gas furnace and save yourself time and money.
Never remain in a home -- or any building -- when you suspect a gas leak. The best thing to do is immediately open the windows and leave to call the gas company or fire department. Do not use any phone or turn on or off any electric switches inside the home because these may cause a spark. Whatever you do, don't light a flame!
The pilot light is the fire source that causes the gas to ignite, thus heating your home and water.
For easy access, the manufacturer often fastens the instructions to the outside of the furnace.
Gas leaks are extremely hazardous. To help prevent such leaks, many gas furnaces and heaters have a shut-off.
Natural gas is a cleaner fuel source than oil. Natural gas furnaces also tend to have fewer operational problems.
For the pilot light to burn properly, you should make sure the flame is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) high; otherwise, a draft could blow it out.
For the air to flow properly, you must have a clean filter. Change your filter according to the furnace's maintenance schedule for optimal temperature control.
As a safety measure, gas furnaces have a thermocouple that turns off gas when the pilot is out. This protects against gas flowing into the air and possibly exploding.
You never want to overtighten a screw, nut or bolt when fixing any appliance. It can damage the item and might get stuck in place, preventing future repairs.
The limit switch is a safety feature that shuts off the burner whenever the main chamber, known as the plenum, overheats. Gas poisoning and fire are serious concerns, which is why many safety features have been included on gas-burning furnaces.
The low setting should be high enough to keep the home comfortable but not necessarily warm. The recommended temperature is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).
The high setting should be hot enough to warm the house but not so high as to risk a fire; about 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) is the suggested temperature limit.
A clogged opening will prevent the gas from flowing properly. As a result, the fire will not have a fuel source and will go out.
Whenever you begin to fix a problem with a gas source, you should make sure the gas is off. This will reduce the risk of fire and accidental gas exposure.
To clean the opening, you have to insert something into the pilot's gas line, which is rather narrow. A small wire or pipe cleaner works best.
When gas leaks, it often sputters. Being able to recognize this sound and locate the leak can help ensure the proper function of your furnace -- not to mention keeping your house from exploding!
The most likely reason for a lack of gas flow is that the valve is closed. Simply check whether the valve is open before attempting anything more serious.
Soapy water will bubble when applied to a gas leak. By coating the suspected area with the solution, you can identify whether you have a leak and its location.
The standard tool for tightening connections between pipes is a pipe wrench. Tighten loose connections to ensure proper gas flow.
Some tasks are complicated and potentially dangerous. If you need to replace an electrical component or gas isn't reaching the furnace, call a professional. Safety first!