Furnace, Fireplace, Space Heater Checkup And Safety Tips With the first cold snap of Fall upon us, many Central Ohio area residents are turning on their furnaces and fireplaces to keep warm. In an effort to keep you safe this winter Ron offers these tips for your furnace, fireplace and space heaters. By Ron Specht Furnace Safety · Have your furnace checked and cleaned regularly by a qualified repair person. · Be sure all furnace automatic controls & emergency shutoffs are in good condition. · Leave furnace work to the experts. Don't attempt repairs unless you are qualified. · Have the repair person check the wall and ceiling near the furnace and flue. If they are hot, additional insulation or clearance may be needed. · Check to ensure the flue pipes are well supported, free of holes and clean. · Make sure the chimney is solid with no cracks or loose bricks. All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry. · Keep trash and combustible storage away from the heating system. Basic Furnace Cleaning & Filter Replacement Step 1. Remove Covers Step 2. Remove Filter Step 3. Vacuum dust – be careful around wires and connectors Step 4. Measure Filter for proper size - length, width and thickness Step 5. Replace with clean or new filter Step 6. Replace covers Fireplace Safety Have your chimney inspected annually for damage and obstructions. · Clean the chimney regularly to avoid buildup, also known as creosote that could ignite your roof. · Be sure to use a screen in front of your fireplace large enough to catch rolling logs or sparks. · Don't use flammable liquids to start a fire. · Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build a fire. It's possible to ignite soot in the chimney by over-building the fire. · Never burn charcoal in your fireplace. Burning charcoal gives off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide. · Be sure no flammable materials hang down from or decorate your mantel. A spark from your fireplace could ignite these materials and cause a fire · Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper can help hot ashes build up heat, causing the fire to flare up and ignite your room. · Store cool ashes in a tightly sealed metal container. How to Clean Your Fireplace SAFETY MEASURES When cleaning, always wear safety goggles and a dust or respirator mask. You may also wish to spread newspapers or a large tarp in front of the fireplace before cleaning to prevent staining rugs or carpeting. TOOLS Short chimney brushes or flue cleaners Vacuum Broom Metal container w/lid Stiff bristled brush. If you're also having your chimney cleaned (or will be doing it yourself), do that first and eliminate the extra clean up process. 1. Using a short chimney or flue brush, clean the flue with short, but strong, strokes. 2. Using a stiff bristled brush, scrub the outside of the damper until it is free of buildup. 3. Remove ashes from the fireplace hearth area and damper and place them in a metal container. 4. Vacuum the surrounding floor thoroughly, making sure to remove all flammable objects as you go. 5. Any soot which has settled or hardened on the fireplace glass or external decorative bricking can be removed with bleach and water or a degreaser. A WORD ABOUT CHIMEY CLEANING Chimney brushes and other tools are readily available for purchase or rental to those who wish to tackle the job themselves. In order to clean a chimney properly, you'll need a complete set of chimney rods, brushes, and a ladder. The chimney is cleaned by opening the damper, climbing up on to your roof, removing the chimney cap and brushing the inside of the chimney with short, forceful, plunging motions. This action will move creosote and other debris into the fireplace hearth. From there, you'll move indoors to clean up the mess and proceed with cleaning the fireplace. ELECTRIC SPACE HEATERS · The heater should be listed by UL (Underwriter's Laboratory). It should be equipped with a safety light, loud alarm, a switch that automatically shuts the heater off if it tips, and a cut-off device in case of overheating. · Space heaters must have space. Keep all objects, pets and people at least three feet away from the heater at all times. · Don't use space heaters in your bathrooms. Do not touch a space heater if you are wet. · Never try to repair the heater yourself. Space Heater Options Forced Air – Fan forced heating provides powerful, fast heat for small-room coverage. The heater heats the air, but uses a fan to push the heated air around the room to provide faster heating of an entire room. Convection – Convection heating warms a room quickly and quietly by natural circulation. These heaters are ideal for heating a space only during the time it’s occupied. Convection heaters are most effective in closed rooms where the heated air can be continually reheated Radiant – Radiant heating provides heat from a hot surface without directly warming the air. These heaters are perfect for fast, focused spot heating by heating only the object they’re pointed at. Radiant heating is most appropriate for rooms with large, open spaces, high ceilings, or drafty areas. Propane – Propane provides instant heat anywhere, anytime. Ideal for emergency heat during power failures. Use in well ventilated areas. Stay warm and stay safe! If you have a question about any home improvement project, e-mail me at email@example.com.
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