How Much Space Should I Leave Open Around My Furnace?

November 05, 2019

Natural gas furnaces need enough space and airflow to work right.

Your furnace can shut down if it doesn’t have enough space. It also makes it difficult for our technicians to perform furnace repair.

Regular furnace maintenance is essential to keep your unit running smoothly. An annually serviced furnace may heat more efficiently, which could reduce your heating bills.

Related: How Does Furnace Maintenance Impact the Energy Efficiency of Your Home?

Maintenance often helps us discover troubles before they start. This could help reduce future repair expenses and potentially prolong the life of your unit.

So how much clearance should your furnace really have?

How Much Space Does My Furnace Need?

If you’re finishing your basement or enclosing your furnace room, you should take a look at manufacturer specifications and Branchville statutes for clearance rules.

As a general rule of thumb, your heater should be 30 inches away from furnace room walls on all sides. This allows our service professionals to conveniently work on it.

You also need to check the area has plentiful airflow and ventilation, especially if you have an aging furnace with a metal flue.

Related: Furnace Service or Furnace Replacement: What to Consider

This model of furnace draws combustion air from the surrounding area. If there’s insufficient air, unsafe gas fumes and poisonous carbon monoxide could back draft into your home.

If your furnace is located in a tiny room with a gas water heater, you may need to install more openings. This could include a fully louvered door or vents in the walls.

Not sure if your furnace or water heater has proper ventilation? We can assist you!

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You don’t need to think about airflow and ventilation as much if you have a newer, high-efficiency furnace with PVC piping. Your furnace uses one pipe as an exhaust vent and the other to draw in air.

Keep Combustible Materials Away from Your Furnace

Although furnace rooms function as laundry and storage space, you should keep yours free of things that could be fire hazards.

This includes:

  • Clotheslines
  • Cleaning or laundry products
  • Gasoline, paint or paint thinner
  • Rags and papers
  • Wood scraps and sawdust
  • Used filters

If you have a cat, put your litter box elsewhere. Cat urine contains ammonia, which could corrode your furnace’s heat exchanger. Plus, the furnace could spread the smelly odors throughout your home.

You should also routinely sweep around your furnace to block dust from building up.

Related: Is it Time for Furnace Service or Replacement?

Request Expert Furnace Service 

Whether you have to have furnace replacement or routine maintenance in Branchville, Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc. can expertly handle your needs. Our highly trained technicians can repair any heating equipment model or brand.

Call us at 862-345-6896 or use our online scheduler to set up an appointment now.