How Much Space Should I Leave Open Around My Furnace?

November 05, 2019

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

Your furnace can get too hot if it doesn’t have enough clearance. It also makes it hard for our specialists to accomplish furnace repair.

Annual furnace maintenance is important to keep your unit operating well. A regularly serviced furnace may heat more efficiently, which could lower your energy bills.

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

Maintenance often helps us notice troubles before they become expensive. This could help lower future repair costs and potentially lengthen the life of your system.

So how much clearance should your system really have?

How Much Space Does My Furnace Need?

If you’re finishing your basement or sealing off your furnace room, you should take a look at manufacturer instructions and Shelby ordinances for clearance guidelines.

As a general rule of thumb, your furnace should be 30 inches away from furnace room walls on all sides. This permits our service experts to easily replace it.

You also need to make sure the space 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 back draft into your home.

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

Unsure 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 modern, high-efficiency furnace with PVC piping. Your system uses one pipe as an exhaust vent and the other to draw in 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 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, place your litter box somewhere else. Cat urine contains ammonia, which could create wear on your furnace’s heat exchanger. Plus, the furnace could move the unpleasant odors all over your home.

You should also regularly clean near your furnace to stop dust from accumulating.

Related: Is it Time for Furnace Service or Replacement?

Request Expert Furnace Service 

Whether you need furnace replacement or routine maintenance in Shelby, Hopper Heating and Air can expertly meet your needs. Our highly trained technicians can fix any heating equipment model or brand.

Call us at 704-233-7363 or use our online scheduler to request an appointment right away.