March 17, 2021

What To Do With Your Gas Furnace During a Power Outage?

Popular with many homeowners in Drexel Hill, gas furnaces provide reliable and inexpensive heat to help get you through those long Pennsylvania winters. While your furnace operates most of the time without a second thought, what happens when you lose power to your home and your furnace suddenly can’t operate? To help you protect your furnace to ensure it’s ready to get back to work when the power comes back on, here are a few guidelines that O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning recommends you follow.

How a Gas Furnace Works

Although a gas furnace uses natural gas or propane as its source of energy to produce heat, it still requires electricity to operate its other components. When your thermostat detects that the temperature in your home is too low, it sends a signal that begins a process involving many different components, most of which are powered by electricity. The draft inducer, for example, is the first component to turn on. This component pulls unburned natural gas as well as carbon monoxide emissions away from your furnace and into the flue. The blower fan, safety switches, and, in many cases, the pilot light require electricity, as well.

What To Do When the Power Goes Out

All furnaces from O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning contain plenty of safety features to prevent any gas from being released when the furnace is not operating. Unless the pilot light is on, a furnace won’t release any gas into the burner, meaning that during a power outage, your furnace is effectively totally shut down. One step you can take, though, is to cut power to your furnace at the circuit breaker. This is so you can prevent short bursts of electricity from damaging your equipment if the power should flicker intermittently as crews work to restore your power connection. Otherwise, there’s not much you need to do with your furnace during a power outage.

Surge Protectors

While a power outage is of some concern as it relates to the protection of your furnace, a more pressing concern is power surges that can happen at any time of the day or night. Although most people think of power surges only in terms of how they can affect their consumer electronics, such as televisions and stereo equipment, the truth is that a power surge can damage your furnace just as easily as it can affect your computer. That’s why it’s a good idea to install a whole-home surge protector so that you don’t have to worry about a momentary power surge causing permanent damage to your expensive HVAC equipment.

Backup Generators

If you want to stay comfortable in your home during a power outage, O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning recommends that you install a backup generator. A generator that’s designed to provide power for your entire home can be sized to provide enough power to run your furnace. This helps to keep the temperature in your home steady if you experience a prolonged power outage. If it’s especially cold outside, it’s important to prevent your home from falling below 50 degrees so that your pipes don’t freeze. Plus, with a backup generator, you’ll be able to continue using your television and phone so that you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments regarding the power outage.

Keeping Your Furnace From Harm

Although power outages and power surges can cause damage to your furnace, there are other risks to your furnace, as well. That’s why it’s important to have O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning maintain your furnace at least once a year so that you don’t have to worry about any unexpected outages when you need your furnace the most. You also need to make sure to replace your air filter when it becomes clogged to prevent your furnace from overheating. Having your air ducts cleaned every few years is another great way to support a healthy furnace. With the right maintenance, you can expect your furnace to last 15 years or more.

Helping You Prepare for the Unexpected

At O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning, we want you to be prepared for the unexpected. That’s why we provide repairs, maintenance, and installation for furnaces and air conditioners. We also offer indoor air quality equipment so that you can keep the air in your home free from unwanted contaminants. With over 65 years of experience in the HVAC industry, you can count on O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning to take care of your home comfort needs efficiently and effectively. To learn more about protecting your gas furnace in your Drexel Hill home, contact us at O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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