How to prevent these 3 deadly gas furnace problems

Many homeowners in the Kansas City area depend on a natural gas furnace to keep warm this time of the year. That’s only natural (pun intended) since gas is more cost effective than electricity.

However, a gas furnace, if not properly maintained, can turn from friend to foe in a second, putting your entire family in danger.

To show you what we mean, here are 3 deadly gas furnace problems—and how you can prevent them.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic, odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. (See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for signs and symptoms of CO poisoning.)

Your gas furnace creates CO as it burns natural gas. That’s fine as long as the CO is vented properly out the flue pipe.

However, the CO from your furnace can get into your home and poison your family if:

  • Your furnace’s heat exchanger cracks
  • Something blocks the flue pipe or the flue pipe is faulty

How to prevent: Get regular professional furnace maintenance to catch these problems before they become harmful or deadly. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector that will sound an alarm if dangerous levels of CO are in your home.


According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “furnaces, both central heating units and local room units, account for 35% of residential heating fires.” That’s almost 7,000 homes burned down every year because of heating units.

How to prevent: Don’t store flammable or combustible materials near your furnace.

Combustible materials include:

  • Paints
  • Solvents
  • Gasoline

Flammable materials include:

  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Laundry
  • Newspapers


This is the most deadly furnace problem (“problem” is a bit of an understatement).

While it is rare, furnace explosions happen if there’s a gas leak in the furnace’s system.

How to prevent: To prevent a gas leak, get annual furnace maintenance each year.

But if you do get a gas leak, you’ll smell sulfur/rotten eggs.

If you smell a gas leak in your home, you need to:

  • Avoid igniting any kind of flame.
  • Avoid operating anything electrical (computers, light switches, cell phones).
  • Evacuate everyone from the home.
  • Turn off the gas supply to the house at the gas supply meter outside the home.
  • Call the gas department and fire department about the situation.

Having any issues with your natural gas furnace? Contact us, and we’ll be over ASAP!

Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating serves the Kansas City area.