Is one of your favorite things to do on a bitterly cold winter day snuggling up at home? It’s one of ours, too! However, if your HVAC system hasn’t been properly maintained – and even sometimes when it has – there are several HVAC Winter Hazards that could disrupt a peaceful winter’s day.
In this week’s blog, we outline the different hazards that could affect you and your family during the winter months.
Even if your system has been recently maintained for the fall/winter season, it is up to you to check and maintain your home’s air filter health between maintenance calls. Dirty filters can clog the airflow through your home’s duct system, too dirty and they can even flip safety switches in the furnace. This will cause the furnace to work even harder, can cause wear and tear on the system, and lead to an eventual breakdown.
Your furnace is the most important part of your HVAC system. Sometimes debris and dust can get trapped in whatever compartment or closet it is housed in. If at all possible, open your furnace compartment at least once per month and vacuum out any dust and debris that may have collected there. This will help your furnace run at maximum efficiency, helps to circulate cleaner air, and may even help extend the life of your furnace itself.
If you begin to notice that your furnace is making strange noises or doesn’t seem to be operating like normal, don’t ignore it! This could be a sign that your system may need a part that needs to be replaced or repaired asap. You know how your system sounds and operates on a normal basis, so be sure to call a professional if the unusual sounds persist or performance doesn’t improve.
It is a widespread myth that closing vents in unused rooms can save you money on your energy bills, but as we mentioned in a previous blog, that is not the case. Closing vents can cause many problems in your HVAC system such as increased pressure/duct air leaks, frozen evaporator coils, dead compressors, cracked heat exchangers, and humidity problems.
Smoke and Fire Hazards
Were you aware that home heating causes an average of 56,000 home fires each year? Some of the biggest causes of HVAC fires are failing to keep a system properly maintained, cluttered furnaces, and leaving space heaters/generators unattended for any amount of time. To avoid possible HVAC fires, make sure keep all items at least three feet away from all heat sources such as vents, the furnace, space heaters, or fireplaces, keep your unit properly maintained, and ensure all smoke detectors have fresh batteries at the beginning of the winter season.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Also known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide poisoning kills an average of 400 people each year. The gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so by the time the symptoms of poisoning are noticed, it is usually too late.
The leading cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is faulty heating systems. The best way to avoid the “silent killer” is to ensure your system is operating safely through regular professional inspections, and to immediately install a carbon monoxide detector such as a Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarm in your home.
Middleton Heat & Air is dedicated to the overall safety and comfort of your family throughout the year. If you suspect that you have any of these issues with your HVAC system or you need to schedule a maintenance appointment, contact us online or by phone at 1-800-404-0371.