Holiday Home Heating Risks

December 2013

The winter season is a time when everyone is thinking about the holidays, getting cozy from the cold outside, and generally enjoying family and vacation. Home maintenance isn’t usually at the top of one’s to-do list. That said, when it comes to a home heating and cooling system, maintenance can often mean the difference between a happy holiday and a disaster.

Check and Clean the Furnace

An annual furnace or heater checkup during autumn or right at the beginning of winter is always a good idea. Not only can a technician spot issues early before they become bigger problems in the deep cold, the early appointment can avoid the rush later on when emergencies are happening all over the place and technicians are stretched. A good check will frequently spot problems in their infancy when furnace repair is far less costly.

Checking the heating system is also a good time to have it cleaned as well. Dust and lint buildup often create just enough material to develop into a hot spot that can potentially result in a fire. This is the reason why laundry dryer vents that plug up often cause house fires. Worse, a clogged system can back up gases which then leak into the home and could potentially cause gas poisoning with carbon monoxide. A simple duct cleaning can be inexpensive and usually runs between $75-125.

Clean the Fireplace

Another big area often used in the winter for heating is the fireplace. However, all that smoke and ash has to go somewhere. That’s what the chimney is for. Yet over time the flue and chimney shaft can get clogged with soot and carbon. A good chimney sweep treatment will unclog the channel and remove harmful buildup. This creates a healthy channel for smoke to leave the home and reduces fire risk as well. A chimney sweep usually costs about the same as a furnace cleaning.

Clear the Area around Vents and Fireplaces

Home fires often occur because of radiant heat instead of direct flame. A pet bed near a fireplace, a carelessly flung jacket, or a throw blanket on a vent can all heat up enough to catch fire. If that happens when everyone is asleep, only a fire alarm can possibly save lives. So clear out all the vents and put new batteries in the home fire alarms. Prevention is pennies when compared to disaster and loss.

If you need furnace help in the Central Ohio area, give our office a call. Stay warm and safe!