MyKey Presents: Safety Tips to Prepare your Furnace & Fireplace for Cold WeatherOct 15, 2020
Snow-capped trees, white rooftops, cozy weather, and hot chocolate! Yeah, we do love Winters, don’t we? After all, it is the season of joy, love, and holiday cheers! But are you prepared for it? Is the fireplace properly maintained to avoid an accident? Or have you checked the furnace since last year to ensure it is running correctly? Well, here’s a handy guide for you to get your house safely prepared for cold days and colder nights.
Even though the snow looks beautiful and the sight of snowflakes lazily dancing on the breeze is pleasant when viewed through the window, you still want to keep the cold outside where it belongs during the winter months, don’t you? That is why it is important to keep your furnace and fireplace in check and properly maintained before winter arrives.
Furnaces and fireplaces are used mostly during winters and tend to be heated to high temperatures on extremely cold days. At times, if the gas pressure of the furnace is too high or the fireplace is not maintained properly, the soot in the walls of the heat exchanger might become combustible, leading to a house fire. Statistics show, about two-thirds of house fires in a year are caused by poorly maintained furnaces or fireplaces.
We recommend that you consult with a professional to ensure regular proper maintenance of your furnace and fireplace prior to their first use each year. Here are some things you should also be looking for and staying on top of as a homeowner.
Tips to Ensure your Furnace is in Check Before Winter Arrives
- Maintain your furnace
Schedule annual maintenance and inspections for your furnace. Inspect burners for any signs of rust build-up. Make sure the heat exchanger in your furnace does not have any cracks. Repair and clean the furnace thoroughly before you use it to heat your home.
- Run a maintenance check on the ducts
Holes in the ductwork and accumulation of debris can cause the heating unit to work harder than it needs to, thus increasing the risk of hazardous incidents. Make sure your ductwork is properly installed or replace it if it is damaged. Not only will it increase airflow and improve insulation but also improve indoor air quality.
- Replace furnace filters
Air filters play an important role by making sure that the air coming into your furnace is free from dust and pollution that can cause internal damage to components. It is recommended to change air filters every 3 to 6 months. Check with your furnace and/or filter manufacturer for recommended intervals.
- Program the thermostat
Check your thermostat thoroughly. Make sure it can start your furnace without any issues. Upgrading to a programmable thermostat is a wonderful suggestion. Not only will you be able to control the temperature of your home while your sleeping but also while you are at work or away on a vacation, thus preventing your pipes from freezing or your bills running sky-high. PRO TIP: Make sure you set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit while you are away from home.
- Check for obstruction in the vents
Remove vent covers and clean the vents. Get rid of any other obstruction that clogs the opening to prevent heating issues.
- Inspect the chimney and the flue
Clean the chimney of creosote and soot at regular intervals. Ensure that the exhaust flue outdoors is free of bird nests, leaves, insects, and other debris that could lead to a fire while the furnace is in operation.
- Run a test ride
Turn on your heating unit and check for any abnormal sounds like clanking and rattling. Also, check the thermostat to ensure it’s doing its job and that every room is a comfortable temperature.
Tips to Prepare your Fireplace Correctly
- Sweep the chimney on a regular basis
Make sure the chimney is swept of soot and debris at regular intervals to prevent accidents. Otherwise, the build-up could catch fire inside your chimney and before you realize what is happening, you have a house fire on your hands.
- Inspect damper and gasket material
The damper is a valve that regulates airflow inside the chimney and gasket material is the glass door and the ash dump. Ensure that the damper and the gasket material are working properly before you use the fireplace so that the airflow is clear, and the fire doesn’t get too much oxygen.
- Check for any abnormalities or damages
Look for any odd smell, loose bricks in the chimney, or missing mortar. Make sure there is no water damage as this could be hazardous to the entire house.
- Cover the chimney
Cap the chimney to keep birds, squirrels, leaves, and other dust and dirt from entering. These all can cause a house fire. Replace the caps immediately if damaged.
- Use a diffusion screen
A diffusion screen is an obstruction screen place in front of your fireplace and is used to prevent sparks from flying or a flaming log rolling out of the fireplace.
- Practice safety always
Apart from keeping up maintenance schedules of your furnace and fireplace, make sure you always remove clutter like furniture, boxes, and flammable substances surrounding the heating unit to avoid any fire hazards. Make sure you remove all obstructions from the vents too.
- Check the alarms
Replace the batteries of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work properly in case of a fire hazard.
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MyKey understands you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep your house safe and secure. But accidents like house fires and natural calamities are unpredictable and unanticipated. That is why, no matter where, when, and how you’ve been forced to move out of your home due to an insurance claim, MyKey will be here along with your insurer to nestle you into the temporary home that meets all your needs and ensures your comfort!
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