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Your furnace is the most expensive appliance in your home and a detrimental part of the quality and comfort of the air that your family breathes.  It controls the circulation of air in your home, adds heat on cool days or air conditioning (if you have it) on warm ones to keep your family comfortable.  It can also add humidity on dry days or move air that is too humid from staying in one area for too long.  If the duct system as we say at Home Heroes is your home's respiratory system, the furnace is definitely its lungs.  We all know how faulty lungs can lead to respiratory breakdown and this is why proper maintenance of your furnace is so important.  Your furnace is considered a combustion appliance, which means it burns fuel for warmth, cooking, or decorative purposes and therefore can be a health hazard if it is not burning clean and functioning properly.  If you ever notice that your duct system is spreading black soot, shut the furnace off and call a licensed professional immediately. 
9 out of 10 mechanical breakdowns of furnaces are due to dirt and debris in the furnace itself.  Service calls for furnace failures are costly (especially in the middle of the night in January!) and can be prevented by a good maintenance plan.  In summer months, dirt in the system can cause the air conditioning coils to dampen the dirt, causing mould growth or it can freeze, reducing airflow and raising energy costs.
An annual furnace cleaning by a licensed professional will prolong the life of the furnace, improve efficiency and reduce emergency repairs.  A basic plan should include a thorough furnace cleaning including the air conditioning coils (if you have) and safety inspection to ensure that the equipment is operational and there are no combustible gases invading the home.  Failure to perform annual maintenance on your gas appliances may result in exposure to carbon monoxide, which can cause nausea, drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, and even death.

You should always vacuum and clean regularly around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment, to prevent a build-up of dust and lint that can eventually get into the furnace itself.  Never store items in, on or around the appliance that can obstruct airflow.  One mistake many homeowners make is to store their cat litter box close to the furnace (and wonder why there is so much grey dust throughout the home, let alone odours!).  Your furnace and duct system is not completely sealed, so any dirt and debris nearby will be sucked into the furnace over time.  It is always recommended for this same reason to keep all chemicals (opened or closed) like paint, pesticide, glues, cleaning products, etc. away from the furnace, preferably not in the same room.

You should never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place because doing so may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  When installing a new or cleaned furnace filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly.  Many furnaces now have a safety feature that the furnace will not run if the door is not on tight, but some older models do not have this option. 

An efficient furnace filter, air cleaner along with regular air duct cleaning will also prolong the life and efficiency of your furnace as it alleviates the amount of dust and debris passing through the system.  A plugged furnace filter or duct system, however, can cost your family unnecessary high heating and cooling costs as it forces the furnace to work harder to move the heated or cooled air to various parts of the home.  Clean your air ducts every 3 - 5 years and always after a renovation and pay close attention to manufacturer's recommendations when cleaning or replacing your furnace or air cleaner filters.
For more information on furnace maintenance or combustible gas testing, call Home Heroes today to refer you to a licensed professional in your area!
Home Heroes' CODE WORD
for Indoor Air Quality
is "IAQ"
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