Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology Blog
This winter has been a cold one, and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. There is a lot of advice and DIY tips that circulate around this time of year, but Robert Mullins, instructor of Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC) at Spartan College, has a few tricks of the trade to help safeguard your home from mother nature’s mishaps this winter.
Maintain Humidity Levels to Prevent Damage to Wood
During the winter months, it is extremely important to remember that correct humidity levels in your home are important for your health, your family and your pets. The colder the air temperature, the less moisture the air holds. Dry air can also cause wood furniture and fixtures to crack and be damaged, so make sure to keep those family heirlooms in a nice and humid room. Having a properly functioning humidifier is essential in any home. When using one, try to maintain a 35-50 percent humidity level at all times. A quality humidistat and humidifier are very smart investments.
In a Power Outage, Wait it Out Until Heat Returns
Remember, if the power goes out, so will your heat. If you think you might possibly experience a power outage, make sure that all of your electronics are fully charged. If you do experience a power outage, use a cell phone to call your local utility company ASAP to give them your address. This will help the utility company trace the location of the problem and possibly even speed up repairs. Never attempt to turn on the furnace or the boiler any other way than by the thermostat. If the system was functioning properly when the power went out, it should come back online correctly as soon as the power is restored. However, if the power comes back on and the heat does not, call a qualified heating professional and do not try to fix it on your own- it can be extremely dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.
It is also important to remember that If your system goes out, never heat your home using an oven or stove. This is extremely dangerous and can be a serious fire hazard. Use blankets and warm clothing, or visit family or a friend that has working heat.
Preventative Home Maintenance - Before the Cold Weather
Scheduling preventative maintenance service on your heating system once a year will ensure that your heating system is functioning properly as well as prevent any emergency visits. Try to schedule a maintenance visit before the cold weather arrives, that way if there are any repairs that have to be made you will not be left without heat during the cold. One of the main goals of preventative maintenance is to save you money. In fact, many expensive service calls can be avoided by regularly changing the filter on forced air heating systems (furnaces). Be sure to know the filter size and the type that best suits your needs, and change it every three months.
When choosing a company to service the heating and cooling systems in your home, do your homework. Think about it - these people will be in your home and around your family; reviews are your best friend! Make sure that you ask questions about rates, service contracts, and preventative maintenance costs before your heating system fails or stops working.