The North wind is blowing and the heating season is now upon us. “As families prepare for the holidays, they should also take the time to be sure all of their heating systems and fireplaces are operating correctly,” says Bill Hussel, of Chimney Doctors. “It’s best to have a qualified service technician check things out. Following regular maintenance and safety procedures in your home will give you fuel savings and protect your family from any unwanted and dangerous surprises,” Hussel adds.
Before it even gets cold outside, make sure that you check out your home heating systems to ensure that everything is working properly. Thinking about the following will help you in this process:
- “Stuffy, stale or smelly air, back drafts and soot from a fireplace or furnace chimney usually mean your home needs more air for proper combustion and healthy living,” says Hussel.“For gas-fired equipment, mostly yellow (rather than clear blue) burner flames, a pilot light that keeps going out, or a smell of gas indicate trouble. If you smell gas, turn off the equipment and contact your gas company emergency service immediately!”
- If you’re adding a wood or coal burning stove to a home, make sure that the stove is properly installed and vented. Some “do-it-yourselfers” have unknowingly created dangerous conditions, such as not enabling carbon monoxide to build up and not making sure the stove is venting properly. Once you file for a permit, a qualified inspector will check your installation and explain how to rectify any mistakes that may have been made.
- If you have a forced warm-air furnace, make sure that there is no cold air return register in a small, enclosed furnace room.
- On masonry chimneys, inspect the clean-out regularly to ensure that the chimney is free and clear of debris. Regardless of the fuel your furnace, fireplace or stove uses, your chimney should be inspected from time to time by a competent chimney contractor.
- Never try to add a “heat reclaimer” or “automatic flue damper” to your gas furnace or water heater. Gas installation safety codes prohibit use of these devices as an add-on to an existing furnace because of the risks of incorrect installation and mechanical failure.
Regularly checking all your heating systems to ensure that everything works properly should be part of your normal fall season routine. Doing this annual check will result in catching any problems that may have turned up, allowing you to fix them before the cold wind blows.