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Types of Gas Furnace Safety Mechanisms

Because a furnace is usually hooked up to the gas line, some homeowners may worry about the safety of their home and family. Unfortunately, gas furnaces are sometimes unfairly written off as unsafe since they deal with combustion gases that could be hazardous. In reality, today’s furnaces are actually incredibly safe and contain key features that help to protect your home. These features should always work properly so long as the unit is properly installed and continuously maintained.

Be sure to call a technician whenever you suspect that a component of your furnace is not working, like the Tacoma heating experts at Sound Heating, or for routine maintenance and inspection every year. For now, take a look at some of these key furnace safety features, so you can rest easy knowing your furnace won’t cause you any harm throughout the night.

  1. Furnace Limit Switch: The furnace fan limit switch, at its most basic function, is a part that tells the fan when to turn on and off. This keeps your fan from continuously blowing after your home has reached the desired temperature. But it is also an important safety mechanism on any furnace that keeps the furnace plenum from overheating so that there is no damage to the unit and so that flames cannot escape.
  2. Thermocouple: The thermocouple is a feature that protects the combustion chamber from filling up with unburned gases.  If the standing pilot light were to go out, the chamber could fill up with these gases which would lead to an explosion in some cases. The thermocouple is a simple component that senses when the pilot light is off and closes the gas valve.
  3. Flame Sensor: In today’s furnaces, the thermocouple is actually no longer necessary for most modern units. Older furnaces required a standing pilot, while most of today’s units use hot surface ignition or an intermittent pilot instead of requiring the pilot to remain on. For these furnaces, a mercury sensor performs a similar job to the thermocouple.

If you’re worried about the safety of your furnace or need a professional to troubleshoot strange sounds or other indications that a furnace is in a state of disrepair, you should talk to the professionals at Sound Heating. We offer repairs, maintenance, and installation for heating systems in Tacoma and the surrounding area.

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