According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), one of the most common causes of clothes dryer fires in the US is failure to clean the dryer and exhaust vent. The NFPA has published a great one page clothes dryer safety guide – you can download the guide by clicking HERE.
Typically, the dryer itself and the lint screen are easy to access and clean. However, the exhaust vent and the flexible connector that most dryers have between the dryer and the wall can be a real challenge to reach.
I would guess that most of us – after we fight the initial battle of getting the dryer vent connected, and then the pushing the dryer back into place, would prefer to NEVER move the dryer again. However – to properly clean the dryer exhaust, you simply must move the dryer out and take a look. Sorry – but it’s worth it!
The two most likely spots for lint to accumulate in the dryer exhaust system are where the flex line terminates at the wall, and then outside the home, at the damper/wall termination. Please – check both areas!
Unfortunately, some dryer exhausts make a number of twists and turns before reaching the outside. … Read more...
Such a simple thing – change your furnace filter when needed. Most everyone knows you’re supposed to check and change your filter regularly.
But what is “regularly”? Everyone knows you change the oil in your car every 3 months or 3 thousand miles. BTW – great marketing job oil industry :). But what about the filter on your furnace/air conditioning? A cheap filter might need changed every month. A high-quality filter might last 2-3 months. Some filters can be cleaned. Others you just throw away. If you open your windows often, change the filter more often. If you keep ‘em shut, the filter stays clean longer. What’s a person to do?
My suggestion – check at least every other month, and replace when dirty. That’s pretty simple, right?
But – let’s dig a little deeper, just for fun. I can think of 4 excellent reasons to check & change the filter at least every 2 months:
1: SAVE MONEY – a dirty filter makes the HVAC system run longer and harder. Your energy bill goes up.
2: BREATH EASIER – a clean filter, and thus a clean HVAC system means less dust in the air, and fewer allergens in your home. … Read more...
Unfortunately, the number of injuries and deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning has been rising for years. There are a number of theories for why this is, but one thing we do know: homes are much more energy efficient these days. And an energy efficient home does not “breath” like an older (drafty?) home. Therefore, even low levels of carbon monoxide in a newer home can lead to CO poisoning symptoms.
Last winter I wrote an in-depth article all about Carbon Monoxide and winter home safety. You can read that article HERE. If you do not currently have a CO detector – and if you have any of the items in the picture above (fireplace, gas furnace, or an attached garage) … please install one ASAP. Today would be great!
The National Fire Protection Association has a great one page summary about where and how to install a CO detector. You can download it by clicking HERE.
I’m a firm believer in starting with WHY.
Often the “why” we do something is more important than the “how”. If we have a strong enough reason why, we’ll figure out how!
Unfortunately, when it comes to proper heating system maintenance, the “why” can be a bit scary. If a furnace is not venting properly, if the fireplace chimney is blocked, or if one of many other items is not operating properly as the cold weather approaches, the end result could be carbon monoxide poisoning. And… it could be fatal.
Sorry to be so negative right up front, but this is vitally important for your family’s safety. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”
So…what to do? Glad you asked!
First step – if you have a gas-fired appliance of any type (furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, fireplace, refrigerator – yeah, that one surprised me too… although not very common, there ARE gas-fired refrigerators!), a wood-burning fireplace, or an attached garage – you simply MUST have a carbon monoxide detector installed.… Read more...