MAINTAIN THE SAFETY OF YOUR HEATING SYSTEM AND YOUR HOME
Unfortunately, fires in the home caused by heating equipment are a leading cause of death. There are measures that homeowners can take to protect your family and home, and to help maintain the safety and proper functioning of your heating (and cooling) unit.
- Leave all furnace repairs to properly trained, qualified specialists.
- Install working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors/alarms in each level of the home.
- Keep all flammable materials well away, at least three feet, from heating sources (your furnace, wood stove, cooking stove, hot water heater, space heaters, etc. Always unplug small appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons after use)
- Keep children and pets AWAY from open fireplaces and space heaters.
- NEVER discard hot ashes near your home. It is recommended that AFTER cooling, ashes be placed in a metal container and stored a safe distance from the home.
It is also recommended that the following maintenance measures be performed annually by a heating system professional
- Check the condition of your vent connection pipe and chimney. Parts of the venting system may have deteriorated over time. Chimney problems can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.
- Check the physical integrity of the heat exchanger. Leaky boiler heat exchangers leak water and are easy to spot. Furnace heat exchangers mix combustion gases with house air when they leak – an important safety reason to have them inspected.
- Adjust the controls on the boiler or furnace to provide optimum water and air temperature settings for both efficiency and comfort.
- If you’re considering replacing or retrofitting your existing heating system, have a technician perform a combustion-efficiency test.
Forced Air Systems
- Check the combustion chamber for cracks.
- Test for carbon monoxide (CO) and remedy if found
- Adjust blower control and supply-air temperature
- Clean and oil the blower
- Remove dirt, soot, or corrosion from the furnace or boiler
- Check fuel input and flame characteristics, and adjust if necessary
- Seal connections between the furnace and main ducts
Hot Water Systems
- Test pressure-relief valve
- Test high-limit control
- Inspect pressure tank, which should be filled with air, to verify that it is not filled with water
- Clean the heat exchanger
- Drain some water from the boiler to remove sediments and improve the heat exchange efficiency
- Test low-water cutoff safety control and high-limit safety control
- Drain the float chamber to remove sediments, which will prevent low-water cutoff control from sediment clogs
- Analyze boiler water and add chemicals as needed to control deposits and corrosion
- Clean the heat exchanger
For more information on home heating safety, please visit:www.energy.gov