Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Multi-Purpose Furnace Rooms Can be Hazardous

Multi-Purpose Furnace Rooms Can be HazardousThe statistics tell the story about the hazards of storage in a mechanical room that contains a gas-fired furnace. According to the National Fire Protection Association, during a recent five-year period an average of over 6,000 residential fires per year originated within the enclosed space that housed the home’s central heating unit. NFPA statistics also reveal that, in nearly half of these incidents, the first item to be ignited in the fire was some sort of flammable liquid or material that should never have been stored there in the first place.

A Furnace Room Isn’t A Storeroom

Storage in a mechanical room is particularly hazardous because the furnace installed there includes gas burners plus a pilot light or electronic igniter. These components may ignite flammable fumes released by substances stored nearby. Within the enclosed confines of a small furnace room, fumes may easily accumulate to levels that are readily combustible. Paper items may also ignite if they are too close to a hot component of a gas-fired furnace, even without directly contacting an open flame.

Preventing Furnace Fires

To reduce the risk of fire, don’t use the furnace room as a storage closet. Paint, solvents, cleaning supplies, rags, paper and cardboard materials should be stored elsewhere. The furnace room should house only the furnace. No shelves should be installed, as these may invite storage of flammable materials. There should be adequate open space around the unit for proper air circulation as well as easy inspection and routine maintenance by a qualified professional.

In addition to eliminating storage in a mechanical room that contains a furnace, for added safety these additions may be considered:

  • Installation of smoke or heat detectors inside the room.
  • Installation of a self-closing fireproof door.
  • Adequate ventilation to prevent accumulation of vapors.
  • Ensuring that the room is readily accessible to firefighters if fire should occur.

For more about the hazards of storage in a mechanical room, ask the heating professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.