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I have had many home owners ask me what's the big deal with a little dust or dirt around my furnace or boiler?
1 The dust could catch on fire. Below is a furnace gas burner. as you can see it is completely covered with dust, you can see the dust on everything in the room. not only is this a possible fire hazard, but it a carbon monoxide hazard, it is a very serious carbon monoxide hazard.
So how does dust create a very serious carbon monoxide hazard? Carbon monoxide is caused by any fuel that is not burned efficiently, gas boilers are designed to use X amount of gas mixed with X amount of air to create a nice efficient burning flame that creates very low levels of carbon monoxide that goes up the chimney and causes no harm. But if that balance of air (oxygen) and gas is changed by dirt or dust clogging the air intake to the burner, the gas to air balance is changed, now your carbon monoxide is getting higher and possibly spilling into the room and filling your home with dangerous carbon monoxide gas. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless invisible and deadly.
The dust does not need to be as obvious as it is in this picture to cause a problem, have your gas boiler or furnace cleaned every year by a real plumbing and heating contractor. other things that cause air flow restriction to a boiler or furnace, cat and dog hair sawdust from a work shop, and the most common, no combustible air in the boiler room, to get more information about combustible air in your furnace room contact your local gas supplier.

Dirty furnace