Furnace rooms are frequently neglected and seen as storage spaces. Unfortunately, treating them that way can lead to serious and expensive problems. To keep furnace rooms functional and safe, you will have to remove potentially dangerous items. This list of 12 items to keep out of the furnace room cover most items you should be aware of.
First of all, never store flammable liquids or materials in the furnace room. Kitty litter, laundry, boxes, spare parts, and pieces of old furniture should also be avoided. And last but not least, remove dust and dirt regularly.
Here is a list of 12 things that should always be kept out of the furnace room.
1. Cleaning Products
The first three types of products on this list are flammable.
Cleaning products, which are frequently stored in furnace rooms, can cause problems. Harsh chemicals, such as bleach, drain cleaners, grease removers, and even laundry detergents should be stored somewhere else. These types of products can spill, evaporate, or catch fire quickly. Even if you keep them in original packages or stored in double containers, these products are still hazardous.
Paint and paint thinners are found in many homes, typically after remodeling works or as hobbies. Regardless of how creative you are, you need to be mindful of where you keep your paint and related materials. Paintbrushes and other materials are also very flammable, and storing it near the furnace is dangerous.
A lot of homeowners like to have a canister of fuel at home. Some use it for lawnmowers while others live in remote areas and use it for various purposes. Fuel evaporates fast, and fumes are highly flammable. Gas also poses a danger. If you have some camping stoves or similar items, store them safely, far away from the furnace room. The same goes for all kinds of oils.
4. Kitty Litter
It may seem like a good idea to keep kitty litter out of sight in a furnace room. I get it; you want to keep the smell away from your home. Unfortunately, this could be very dangerous. Kitty urine contains ammonia, and if it evaporates, it can cause corrosion, and the heater exchanger could get damaged. If you are not checking it regularly, you could end up spending a lot of money replacing corroded furnace parts.
Many homeowners like to keep their moving cardboard boxes at least for a while, and the furnace room may seem like a convenient place for them. Furnaces can cause sparks that could land on cardboard and cause a massive fire. Cardboard burns quickly, and the fire could spread fast. Additionally, large boxes stored too close to the furnace could obstruct airflow and filters.
Old newspapers and magazines, napkins, mail, books, and similar paper products are highly flammable, and a single spark could cause a disaster. Similar to cardboard products, you should always keep these items out of the furnace room. Some homeowners think they will be safe if they store paper in containers, but there is still risk depending on the type of container you use.
7. Spare Parts
Old furnace filters, different cables, or even spare parts of other appliances have to be out of the furnace room. The same goes for any electrical devices like old toasters, laptops, and similar items. Those items should be kept somewhere else if you must keep them at all.
Furniture contains treated wood, fabric, adhesives, glue, paint, and other flammable materials that present a fire hazard. Old pallets, firewood, and similar things should also be kept out of the furnace room. Mattresses, pillows, and blankets are also dangerous. Another danger that furniture present is obstructing safe passage around the furnace room. It is heavy and hard to move, so it would be an obstacle to overcome in case of a fire.
Laundry, especially wet one, should be kept away. Wet laundry evaporates, and water vapor stays inside of the room. Many furnace rooms are poorly ventilated, which may cause moisture and trigger corrosion. If you have anything wet inside, make sure you ventilate the room and establish some airflow to prevent significant problems.
10. Sawdust and Wood Particles
Wood particles and tiny, dry scraps are a fire hazard. They can burn quickly, and the small pieces can end up anywhere. A high amount of wood particles can also block filters and cause damage to your furnace.
11. Rubber and Plastic
If you think that keeping your winter tires in a furnace room is a good idea, think again. The same goes for large plastic materials, like big plastic boxes or plastic chairs. Even your old and long garden hose could present a problem. If rubber or plastic starts burning, it will melt and result in an extremely hot, burning liquid, which is very hard to extinguish. Even professional firefighters have a hard time battling fires caused by burning rubber.
12. Dust and Dirt
Dust and dirt are a common enemy of many appliances, including furnaces. Microscopic particles may find a way into the furnace and filters, preventing the furnace’s optimal function. Always keep your furnace room clean, and use a vacuum cleaner. Never clean your furnace with harsh chemicals. Replace filters when needed, and schedule regular maintenance to monitor vital parts.
- Some things can safely be stored in your furnace room, provided you leave at least 2 feet of space between the items and the furnace.
- Never cover it or place things near it because you could block the airflow and damage the system or cause a fire.
- Avoid cluttering and keep it neat and tidy so that you can always walk freely and remove those items if necessary.
- It would be wise to have a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case you need it.