- A heating system may become a SAFETY HAZARD through neglect and/or deferred maintenance. If the system burns fuel, it must have an adequate supply of air which is usually drawn through ducts, louvers, or beneath a door. Caution must be taken to not restrict this flow of air. If carpeting is added to a room, then an equal thickness should be cut from the bottom of the door;
- Never store materials, especially combustible materials, near any element of a heating system. Never, never store gasoline containers or propane bottles (cooking or soldering types) inside the house, or in an enclosed pit-like area like the basement or a dug well;
- Natural gas or propane-fired systems can be dangerous to light. Follow the posted directions exactly. If you are in doubt as to how to light the pilot, then visit your gas service company and ask for instructions. It’s worth the effort;
- If you have a water or steam heating system or a water heater, it must have a pressure relief valve. The drain line from it must not be restricted. If the pressure relief valve leaks water, call the service company. Never plug the valve.
- These systems should be checked regularly with carbon monoxide testing equipment for possible system failure. Carbon monoxide detectors should always be present and functional where gas or oil systems are in use.
Hot Air Systems
- All hot air systems require an inside unit called an air handler that circulates the air to the inside rooms through the heat exchanger using circulating fans. Air handlers can be heated via oil or gas furnaces, hot water or refrigerant such as that used in a heat pump system.
- The most ignored maintenance task on a hot air heating system is changing the air filter. Generally, the filter should be changed at least once a month during the heating and cooling seasons. We recommend that a maintenance contractor check the heating system at least once a year;
- The heat exchanger separates the poisonous flue gas from the room air. Leakage of the heat exchanger is a SAFETY HAZARD;
- Evidence of a leaking heat exchanger includes dark stains on the warm air registers, and fuel odor when the system’s fan first comes on;
- Health reactions to a leaking heat exchanger include headaches, drowsiness, and in severe cases, vomiting. If you suspect a problem, have a competent service company thoroughly test the heat exchanger immediately, not just look at it.