How Much Space Should I Leave Open Around My Furnace?

November 05, 2019

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

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

Regular furnace maintenance is important to keep your equipment working smoothly. A regularly serviced furnace may run more efficiently, which could lower your heating bills.

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

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

So how much clearance should your system really have?

How Much Space Does My Furnace Need?

If you’re finishing your basement or closing off your furnace room, you should consult manufacturer specifications and McHenry ordinances for clearance rules.

As a general recommendation, your system should be 30 inches away from furnace room walls on all sides. This lets our service technicians to easily replace 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 kind of furnace pulls combustion air from the nearby area. If there’s not enough air, unsafe gas fumes and toxic carbon monoxide could leak into your home.

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

Uncertain if your furnace or water heater has adequate ventilation? We can take a look!

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You don’t need to think about 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 are often also used for laundry and storage space, you should keep yours free of items 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 somewhere else. Cat urine contains ammonia, which could deteriorate your furnace’s heat exchanger. Plus, the furnace could move the stinky odors around your home.

You should also regularly vacuum around your furnace to prevent dust from building up.

Related: Is it Time for Furnace Service or Replacement?

Request Expert Furnace Service 

Whether you want furnace replacement or routine maintenance in McHenry, Jett's Heating & Air Inc. can expertly take care of your needs. Our highly trained technicians can work on any furnace model or brand.

Call us at 815-410-1128 or use our online scheduler to get an appointment now.