In this video: A properly maintained gas furnace system will make your home comfortable. Learn how to detect if there's a problem.

As with any type of energy, the key to safety is common sense, but there are a few special rules to keep in mind around natural gas appliances:

The right way:

  • DO leave at least 18 inches of clearance around your gas furnace and water heater, and at least one inch around gas stoves and clothes dryers.
  • DO keep paints, papers, aerosol sprays and other flammables away from gas appliances.
  • DO make sure the vent hood, pipes and flues aren't blocked, cracked or corroded.
  • DO have gas appliances professionally installed. This will ensure that all the connections are secure, all vent pipes and flues are clean and undamaged, and that the appliance is adjusted properly.

The wrong way:

  • DON'T store or stack boxes, laundry or other materials around the base of a gas appliance.
  • DON'T let kids play on or around gas equipment, including meters and pipes.
  • DON'T wear long sleeves around a gas stove, and keep towels and potholders away from the open flame.
  • DON’T try to use a gas oven or range to heat a room - the appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Good flame vs. bad flame

One quick way to tell if a natural gas appliance is getting enough oxygen and is adjusted properly is to check the color of the flame on the pilot light.

A pilot or burner flame light should be about 90 percent blue. A yellow flame indicates the appliance isn't working right and could be giving off harmful fumes - have it checked by a service technician right away.

Keep in mind that not all problems with gas appliances will have the symptom of a yellow pilot light - and not all pilot lights are visible. Look for excessive ash or soot around a pilot light opening or air ducts, lengthy "warm-up" times and strange noises or odors.

Check your connections

In this video: The connectors on your gas appliances should be checked regularly by professionals to make sure there are no leaks and keep your family safe.

If you have natural gas appliances, when was the last time you thought about the connector that joins the appliance to the gas line?

Older flexible connectors made of uncoated brass can weaken or crack over time, which could lead to a dangerous and deadly gas leak.

Any uncoated brass gas appliance connector should be replaced immediately with a new stainless steel connector.

To industry knowledge, these dangerous connectors have not been made for more than 25 years, but you might still have one in use on an older appliance, including a clothes dryer, water heater, space heater, or stove.

Although not all uncoated brass connectors have this flaw, it is very difficult to tell which ones do. Follow these guidelines to keep your family and home safe:

  • Avoid moving natural gas appliances — stressing connectors can cause them to crack and leak.
  • Only a qualified professional should check your connector and replace it.
  • Avoid repeated use of cleaning solutions or insect sprays around appliance connectors — these solutions can cause corrosion.
  • Do not allow wiring or other objects to touch the connector.
  • Connectors should always be replaced whenever an appliance is replaced or moved from its location.
  • Do not move your gas appliances to check the connectors yourself. The connectors can break easily, if moved even slightly, possibly resulting in a deadly fire or explosion. Only a qualified professional should check your connector and replace it if needed.

More from this category

Be prepared for bad weather


The best way to weather a storm is to have a safety plan in place ahead of time.

learn more

Staying safe around buried gas pipelines

gas line marker flag

If you have buried natural gas lines on your property, make sure you know how to locate and maintain them.

learn more

Aging in place

Adjustable height kitchen sink

Using universal design principals, your home can adapt to your changing lifestyle needs.

learn more

Radon gas

Radon pipe in rock

Find out how to test for radon in your home and what to do if you have it.

learn more

Flood safety

Safety cones in flooded street

Walking through a wet or flooded basement can be dangerous. To be safe, you should always assume that basement flood water is energized.

learn more

Home security systems

Lit up house at night

Many homeowners are investing in home security systems to deter criminals, provide home protection and deliver peace of mind.

learn more

Portable generators & space heaters

portable generator

Portable heaters and generators are convenient, but use them with extreme caution.

learn more

Take care with power tools

Man using a circular saw

Taking a few minutes to check power tools before and after using will keep them in good working order and will keep you safe.

learn more

Garage door app

Pete and garage door specialist looking at garage door opener and phone app

A garage door app will alert you when the door is open and allow you to open and close the door from your smart phone.

learn more