How Much Space Should I Leave Open Around My Furnace?

November 05, 2019

Natural gas furnaces need sufficient space and airflow to heat right.

Your furnace can overheat if it doesn’t have enough space. It also makes it challenging for our specialists to perform furnace repair.

Annual furnace maintenance is important to keep your unit running trouble-free. A regularly serviced furnace may heat more efficiently, which could reduce your heating costs.

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

Maintenance often helps us notice troubles before they begin. This could help lower future repair bills and possibly prolong the life of your unit.

So how much area should your furnace really have?

How Much Space Does My Furnace Need?

If you’re updating your basement or enclosing your furnace room, you should consult manufacturer instructions and San Jose ordinances for clearance requirements.

As a general suggestion, your furnace should be 30 inches away from furnace room walls on all sides. This allows our service experts to comfortably work on it.

You also need to check the room has ample airflow and ventilation, especially if you have an outdated furnace with a metal flue.

Related: Furnace Service or Furnace Replacement: What to Consider

This model of furnace needs combustion air from the nearby area. If there’s inadequate air, dangerous gas fumes and poisonous 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 supplemental openings. This could include a fully louvered door or vents in the walls.

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

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You don’t need to consider 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 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 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, situate your litter box elsewhere. Cat urine contains ammonia, which could create wear on your furnace’s heat exchanger. Plus, the furnace could spread the smelly odors all over your home.

You should also regularly vacuum near your furnace to block dust from building up.

Related: Is it Time for Furnace Service or Replacement?

Request Expert Furnace Service 

Whether you need furnace replacement or annual maintenance in San Jose, American HVAC Inc can expertly take care of your needs. Our highly trained technicians can fix any furnace model or brand.

Call us at 408-215-1018 or use our online scheduler to request an appointment right away.