The holiday season is upon us, and so is the cold weather. By now you’ve probably fired up your heating systems and are getting ready to host Thanksgiving dinner and other holiday parties. But before you entertain any guests, here are a few heating tips for the holidays to help ensure you and yours don’t end up in the cold. Because furnaces are a common cause of home fires, these heating tips won’t only keep you cozier over the holidays — they’ll keep you safer, too.
Tip #1: Get Your HVAC Winter Maintenance
Schedule a routine maintenance check for your HVAC system each fall. Fall maintenance should include: checking for loose belts in the blower, measuring the pressure of the gas, and checking for cracks in the heat exchanger.
Loose belts mean your system has to work harder to pump out the desired amount of air. Cracks in the heat exchanger can cause problems with the pilot light. They can also cause soot buildup from improper combustion, leading to a host of fire concerns.
Tip #2: Inspect Your Ducts
Have a licensed professional inspect and clean your ducts to make sure you have a clean, energy-efficient holiday season. If you have leaks in your ducts, you will raise your heating bill as your heating system pushes out more heat to make up for what’s lost in the leaks.
Want to stop worrying about cleaning ducts and minimize your home heating during the winter? Consider a ductless heating pump. By eliminating ducts, you also eliminate the chance of heat escaping through cracks or improper seals.
Tip #3: Prevent Heating System Fires
The majority of home heating system fires occur in the months of December, January and February. While there are many causes of home heating fires, clogged or dirty equipment is the most common. You should get your heating system checked by a professional technician every year before you turn on the heat. If you let it slip, make sure to get a check-up before any holiday get-togethers.
Make sure your filters and vents are clean and free of debris. Dust is extremely flammable, and in large quantities it can cause fires to spread. Dust can also accumulate above the furnace — this can cause a furnace fire if the debris falls into the heat exchanger.
You’ll also want to make sure to keep anything flammable away from heating devices. This includes blankets, boxes of holiday decorations, and packages. During the holidays the house can get crazy, but it’s important not to forget home heating safety.
Tip #4: Check Your Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A natural byproduct of gas furnaces is carbon dioxide: an odorless, colorless gas that is usually combusted safely and vented away from the home. If your heating system’s venting is dirty or clogged, the carbon monoxide can build up and leak into the home — with potentially deadly effects.
You may also want to be careful if you have an older, smaller house without updated ventilation. If several appliances are running and competing for a limited amount of fresh air, it can lead to a carbon dioxide buildup.
If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, we highly recommend you place one near — or in — each sleeping area. Additionally, we recommend you place a carbon monoxide alarm 15-20 feet away from the furnace or any fuel burning heating systems.
Tip #5: Make Use of Your Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are great for the holidays because you can set them and forget them. You can set preferred temperatures for up to four times a day. That means sweltering dinner times and freezing breakfasts will be non-existent.
If you are hosting holiday parties, set your thermostat for a slightly cooler temperature on any days you’ll have guests over. With that many warm bodies, plus the oven going, it can get hot inside pretty fast. Put some blankets out on the couch so your family can stay warm even after the kitchen cools down.
Schedule Your Winter Checkup Today!
If you live in the Reno/Sparks areas, Ross Heating and Air Conditioning can help you take care of your heating system. We specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of all types of heating systems.
Make use of these heating tips to keep your holidays safe, cozy and warm! If you have any questions, let us know. For more information, or to get started with regular maintenance and high efficiency heating, contact us or call us at (775) 425-2525.