How Much Space Should I Leave Open Around My Furnace?

November 05, 2019

Natural gas furnaces need adequate space and airflow to heat properly.

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

Regular furnace maintenance is essential to keep your system working smoothly. 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 spot problems before they become expensive. This could help reduce future repair expenses and likely prolong the life of your system.

So how much clearance should your equipment really have?

How Much Space Does My Furnace Need?

If you’re updating your basement or sealing off your furnace room, you should research manufacturer specifications and Des Moines laws for clearance requirements.

As a general suggestion, your system should be 30 inches away from furnace room walls on all sides. This permits our service professionals to comfortably repair it.

You also need to ensure 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 type of furnace pulls combustion air from the adjacent location. If there’s inadequate air, unsafe gas fumes and deadly carbon monoxide could leak into your home.

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

Not sure if your furnace or water heater has adequate ventilation? We can help!

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You don’t need to assess airflow and ventilation as much if you have a up-to-date, high-efficiency furnace with PVC piping. Your system uses one pipe as an exhaust vent and the other to pull 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 in another room. Cat urine contains ammonia, which could create wear on your furnace’s heat exchanger. Plus, the furnace could spread the unpleasant odors all over your home.

You should also regularly sweep near your furnace to block dust from accumulating.

Related: Is it Time for Furnace Service or Replacement?

Request Expert Furnace Service 

Whether you want furnace replacement or regular maintenance in Des Moines, Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling can expertly meet your needs. Our highly trained technicians can fix any HVAC model or brand.

Call us at 515-207-6569 or use our online scheduler to get an appointment today.