You may have never considered it, but there are things that are just bad ideas when it comes to your heating and cooling equipment. Some are unsafe. Some may shorten the life of your equipment or cause repairs to be needed. The good news is that these situations can be easily corrected in your home.
- The dryer vent. There are two ways your dryer vent could be hurting your HVAC equipment. If the vent is too close to your air conditioning condenser (the outside unit), lint can build up, lowering your efficiency and eventually causing the air conditioner to stop working completely. If the dryer vent is too close to your high efficiency furnace’s fresh air intake. (NOTE: If you system still uses a chimney this does not pertain to you.) You can have similar issues with dust and debris. In addition, the laundry products that are vented out can damage the furnace components if they are drawn in.
- The litter box. It can be tough to find a good spot for your cat’s litter box that is out of the way yet easy to access, but don’t place it near your home’s furnace, boiler or even your hot water tank. The ammonia from the litter box can cause corrosive damage to these systems and can greatly shorten their life. This is also true of detergents and cleaning products kept near your heating equipment.
- Garage heaters. Heaters in garages should always be 18” off the ground to avoid igniting gasoline fumes when they are running- this is actually code in most municipalities. Never use a portable heater near combustibles of any kind.
- Bath fans. Many bath fans vent right into the attic. This moist, warm air creates a perfect environment for mold to grow. In addition, venting this warm air into the unconditioned attic space can cause icicles to form. These can damage the exterior of your home and can be a hazard to any people, pets and possessions below them. Always make sure these vents are piped directly to the outside and never terminate inside your home or attic.
- Finished basements. Your furnace, boiler or hot water tank may not be great to look at, but they need to “breathe” to work properly. If you build a small room around them to block them from view, you could have a real problem. Not only can you make it difficult to service the equipment and perform repairs, insufficient combustion air in the room the furnace and hot water tank are in can cause flame rollout and possible venting issues which can create dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) problems.
If you think you may have a problem with one of these issues in your home, contact your HVAC professional. Many fixes to these situations are quite simple and inexpensive. A trained professional can evaluate your home and come up with a solution to correct these issues and keep your heating and cooling equipment running safely and efficiently.
photo credit: iheartpandas