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How Much Space Should I Leave Open Around My Furnace?

November 05, 2019

Natural gas furnaces need sufficient space and airflow to heat properly.

Your furnace can overheat if it doesn’t have enough clearance. It also makes it hard for our professionals to accomplish furnace repair.

Annual furnace maintenance is crucial to keep your system working well. An annually serviced furnace may work more efficiently, which could reduce your utility bills.

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

Maintenance often helps us notice problems before they become expensive. This could help lessen future repair costs and potentially prolong the life of your furnace.

So how much area should your system 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 instructions and Portland statutes for clearance requirements.

As a general rule of thumb, your system should be 30 inches away from furnace room walls on all sides. This lets our service technicians to comfortably replace it.

You also need to ensure the area has ample airflow and ventilation, especially if you have an older furnace with a metal flue.

Related: Furnace Service or Furnace Replacement: What to Consider

This kind of furnace needs combustion air from the surrounding space. If there’s inadequate air, dangerous gas fumes and toxic carbon monoxide could leak into your home.

If your furnace is located in a small room with a gas water heater, you may need to put in extra openings. This could involve 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 assess airflow and ventilation as much if you have a up-to-date, high-efficiency furnace with PVC piping. Your furnace uses one pipe as an exhaust vent and the other to add air.

Keep Combustible Materials Away from Your Furnace

Although furnace rooms function as laundry and storage space, you should keep yours free of clutter 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 in another room. Cat urine contains ammonia, which could create wear on your furnace’s heat exchanger. Plus, the furnace could circulate the smelly odors around your home.

You should also frequently vacuum near your furnace to stop dust from building up.

Related: Is it Time for Furnace Service or Replacement?

Request Expert Furnace Service 

Whether you need furnace replacement or regular maintenance in Portland, Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can expertly meet your needs. Our highly trained technicians can fix any heating equipment model or brand.

Call us at 503-213-4433 or use our online scheduler to request an appointment today.