Gas furnace and fireplace safety tips from CSA International

CLEVELAND, Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - As nights become longer and colder, many people will spend more time indoors with family and friends. Furnaces and fireplaces are often the go-to sources to keep homes warm and cozy. Before blasting the heat, remember the importance of conducting routine inspections and maintenance of your gas heating appliances for the upcoming winter months. Fall is a prime time to do this.

CSA International, a leading provider of product testing and certification services, offers the following safety tips to help prepare your gas fireplace and furnace for the fall and winter seasons:

General Gas Appliance Tips

  • Installation, maintenance and repair of gas appliances should only be done by a qualified professional service person.
  • Gas appliances should be inspected before use and checked annually by a qualified professional service person.
  • Due to high temperatures, do not store or use combustible materials, like chemicals, paint, rags, clothing, draperies, paper, cleaning products, gasoline or flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of your gas appliances.
  • Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and lethal gas that can occur any time there is incomplete combustion or poor venting. Any home that contains fuel burning appliances, such as a fireplace or furnace should have a CSA International-certified carbon monoxide alarm installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Control compartments, burners and circulating air passageways of the fireplace and furnace should be kept clean.
  • If purchasing a new gas heating appliance, be sure to look for a certification mark, such as the CSA Star certification mark to ensure it has been tested to the applicable standards for safety and performance.

Gas Furnace Maintenance

  • Keep vents, space heaters and baseboards clear of furniture, rugs and drapes to allow free air movement.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating season.
  • Have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system.
  • Ensure there is free air flow around your furnace and there are no storage items obstructing air flow.

Gas Fireplace Maintenance

  • Children should be carefully supervised and adults should be alerted to the hazards of high surface temperatures and should stay away to avoid burns or the possibility of clothing catching on fire.
    • Any safety screen or guard removed for servicing a fireplace must be replaced before operating the appliance.
    • If the pilot light or flame goes out, wait five minutes or longer (see the manufacturer's instructions) before attempting to relight the fireplace. This allows time to clear the fireplace of gas and is particularly important with direct-vent models.
  • Be alert for unusual odors or flames that are not blue in color often indicating that the fireplace is not operating properly. In such cases, contact your dealer or licensed technician for servicing. Contact the gas company or emergency services if you smell gas when the unit is off.
    • Gas fireplaces with glass doors should not be operated if the glass is cracked or broken.
    • Do not clean your fireplace if it is operational or still hot.
    • Do not use abrasive cleaners, and always refer to manufacturer's instructions when cleaning glass components of your fireplace.

About CSA International

CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA International certification marks appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of CSA Group, which also includes CSA, a leading solutions based standards organization, providing standards development, application products, training and advisory services; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information, visit www.csa-international.org

SOURCE CSA International

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