Did you know that approximately 50% of home heating fires occur from December to February? Heating issues might not seem all that common, but the truth is that overlooking some small problem could lead to a much bigger one.
If you want to prevent major heating issues in your home this winter, you need to know how to spot common furnace issues. Here’s a short list of some of the most common furnace problems and what you can do about them to prevent a larger issue from surfacing.
If you notice poor air flow coming from your vents, it could be an issue of dirty or clogged filters. Newsflash: filters need to be changed at least once every few months to ensure they’re clean and allowing air to flow through unobstructed. Not only will this inhibit your furnace from functioning properly, it could damage the air quality in your home.
Wear and Tear
Furnaces get old, and just like any other piece of equipment used daily in your home, they can break down from age alone. Taking great care of your furnace doesn’t necessarily mean that it will go unaffected by age. If your furnace is getting up in the 12 to 15 year range, it could be time to call in the professional heating contractor to perform furnace repairs or to assess your furnace and help you select a new one.
Lack of Proper Maintenance
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t just turn your furnace on and off without ever calling for HVAC services. Furnace repair might not always be necessary, but it’s important to have your unit inspected at least twice every year, preferably in the spring and in the fall. Keeping up with regular maintenance and inspections could prevent some issues from ever becoming issues in the first place.
Above all else, make sure you’re paying attention to your furnace. If something seems wrong or out of the ordinary, call and make sure it gets checked out. Even if it turns out to be nothing, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your heating is perfectly fine.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should neglect your home’s HVAC system. Your garden might be going into hibernation for the season, but odds are you’ll still be using your HVAC system in some form over the colder months.
If you’re wondering why HVAC maintenance is still so important during the winter, here’s a short guide to help you understand.
You’re at Risk of Fires
Approximately 50% of home fires involving heating issues occurred in December, January, and February. Just changing the air filter once every season isn’t enough to protect your family from the risk of a malfunction. To be absolutely sure you’re safe, you need to invest in twice-yearly inspections. Investing in inspections provides more opportunities to fix small issues before they become problematic.
That’s right, your allergies can follow you straight through to winter, especially if you’re allergic to dust. Your heating system can kick up a lot of dust and even lower the quality of the air in your home if you’re not careful to keep up with HVAC system maintenance.
A Cold House
Winter means cooler days and even cooler nights. Living without proper heating in your home can be extremely uncomfortable, but if you’re not paying attention to HVAC maintenance, then you could be setting yourself up for a chilly home during the holiday season and beyond.
Mild Winters Don’t Mean a Lack of Problems
Living in a warmer climate can make many homeowners question why a heating checkup is necessary, but as previously stated, the nights can get downright chilly. Better to be prepared for the possibility of a cold night than to wake up in the morning to a freezing house!
If you notice any issues when you turn on your heat for the season, you should call your HVAC company immediately and schedule an inspection. Better yet, you should have both of your seasonal inspections scheduled beforehand. Home heating repair can get costly, which means preventative maintenance can save your home and your wallet.
If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the chilly days of winter, then a proper vacation is probably at the top of your to-do list this season. But be careful! Catching vacation fever might be great for you, but it’s definitely not great for your wallet. And, unfortunately, too many homeowners are wasting money on energy bills while they’re off on vacation.
Here are a few things you absolutely need to remember before you leave for someplace sunny and warm this winter.
Turn Your HVAC System Down
Unless you have pets in your home, it’s a smart idea to limit the amount of heating and cooling services you use while on vacation. Properly storing your AC unit and preparing your furnace are crucial to saving on energy costs while you’re away. The thermostat in your home should be set to at least 50 degrees to keep pipes and other important appliances from freezing, but other than that, there’s no need to keep the heat at 70 degrees while you’re gone.
Take Care of Your Pets
You might be uncomfortable with the idea of placing your pet in a boarding facility during your vacation, but even having them stay with a relative is better than leaving your pet at home alone. You could be wasting heat and money by leaving a dog alone in a large house. Before placing your pet in anyone else’s care or leaving them at home, consult with your veterinarian.
Even when they’re not in use, your appliances are using electricity just by being plugged into an outlet. If you take the time to unplug all of your non-essential appliances before you leave for vacation, you could end up saving a lot of money. Not only that, but you could be reducing the risk of a fire in your home as well. If there’s a power surge while nobody’s in the house, your plugged-in appliances could spark and cause serious damage to your property.
Above all else, you should make sure you’ve invested in AC repair and furnace repair before you stop using your AC unit in winter. Twice-a-year inspections can reduce soot buildup and other common HVAC systems issues, not to mention lower the cost of your heating and air conditioning bills. Because the only place you should be using your AC unit in winter is wherever you decide to vacation.
DIY projects can be a fun way to challenge yourself to something new. Whether it’s painting a desk or crafting your own wall art, DIY is an adventure. Despite the vast number of projects that fall into the DIY category, there are some things that you should never attempt to do if you’re not a professional.
HVAC repairs are one of those things. Keeping up with basic maintenance like changing filters and cleaning around your HVAC system can and should be done by you, but any fine-tuned repairs or other maintenance issues should only be handled by those who specialize in AC repair. If that doesn’t convince you already, here are a few good reasons you should never DIY AC and furnace repairs.
When you deal with HVAC services, you’re essentially affecting the air quality in your home. Not only can improper equipment installation decrease your home’s HVAC efficiency by up to 30%, it can have lasting effects on your family’s health such as causing respiratory infections and asthma by breathing in the unclean air. Even the most experienced DIY people may not be able to get a solid handle on the training that professional heating contractors have, so leave installation to the experts.
You might not think that installing an HVAC system requires any permissions from the government, but the truth is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires anyone working with refrigerant, which is what makes the air conditioning cold, to have an EPA 608 certification, which can only be obtained through specific training programs.
General Lack of Knowledge
As previously stated, HVAC is a little bit more complex than your average electric heater. It takes a lot of specialized training to be able to master knowledge of all of the small issues that could be present and how exactly to fix them.
If you’re experiencing trouble with your HVAC system, turn on that electric heater and call your HVAC company!
In the chilly winter months, you’ll likely choose to crank up the heat higher than usual. While this is common and encouraged to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze, hiking up the heat is one of the largest risks for house fires.
Some of the best ways to prevent fires are to conserve your energy as much as possible. Here are some ways how:
- Use plastic to line any drafty windows. Not only do drafts cause 25% of all heat loss, they are also expensive to keep. It is useless to heat your home if your heat is escaping constantly anyway. Heating and cooling make up 48% of all home energy costs, so be sure to conserve energy as much as possible. Be careful when putting up the plastic, though. In the case of a house fire, your windows may be your best bet for an escape route. Make sure that you’re still able to open your windows after lining them with plastic.
- Did you know that portable space heaters cause around 70 deaths every year because of accidental fires? Never leave a portable space heater of any type unattended or running for longer than the recommended timeframe. Most space heaters have timers on them, but you should still turn your off every time you leave the room for an extended period of time, just in case.
- Never put anything less than 36 inches away from your heating source. Whether you use electric, or gas, putting combustible materials or fabrics like clothing, couches, or curtains close to the heat source, you could melt or burn these objects, and possibly start a fire.
Never ignite your propane or kerosene pump inside or anywhere close to 400 degrees. It’s very easy for objects to ignite from such high temperatures, and lighting the gas inside where there are a number of flammable objects is extremely dangerous.
While space heaters can be useful in a pinch, it’s more economical and safe to operate a home heating system. HVAC systems are your best bet for safe heating and air conditioning when the time comes.
Instead of putting yourself at risk this winter, have a home heating system installed by Pioneer HVAC to keep you safe and warm, too.
*Always check with a “Licensed Contractor” to make sure all Home Repairs are done properly and safely