Every season presents its unique home safety issues, and winter more than any other. In addition to the outside hazards from snow and ice, indoor hazards peculiar to winter must be addressed as well. In most homes, winter means combustion: Gas-fired furnaces provide reliable heat at competitive costs, and wood-burning fireplaces are a secondary source of heat for many homeowners. However, both can threaten home safety if not maintained properly and checked regularly. Here’s how to make sure your home’s safe for the cold weather ahead:
Schedule a fall furnace tuneup with your trusted HVAC contractor now. A professional technician has the equipment and training to make sure your heater’s running at optimum efficiency and with complete safety. Among other routine maintenance items, he or she will:
- Test for the presence of dangerous carbon monoxide gas inside the ducts (not just outside).
- The burner will be cleaned and, after the system is started a combustion check will verify that the burner is achieving the proper fuel to oxygen ratio for safe, clean burning.
- Check natural gas pressure to detect leaks and verify that the vent pipe that exhausts combustion gases is unobstructed all the way to the roof.
Make sure your home has adequate carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and that fresh batteries (if needed) are installed. One detector should be installed on each level of the home.
The U.S Fire Administration recommends a professional fireplace inspection once a year if you will be using your fireplace during the winter. The inspector will check for proper operation of the damper and verify that the screen or cap on top of the chimney is intact. They’ll also inspect the structure of the chimney and check for sooty build-up or glaze inside, which could ignite in a dangerous chimney fire. If the accumulation is greater than 1/8-inch deep, chimney cleaning may be recommended.
Wichita area homeowners rely on Comfort Systems’ one-call source for heating, cooling and plumbing expertise. As another Kansas winter approaches, let us know if you have any additional questions about home safety and comfort.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home safety and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.