Are Space Heaters Safe?

Space heaters were responsible for 40 percent of home heating fires from 2009 to 2013, and 84 percent of residential heating fire deaths during this period. These statistics alone are enough to make you question the safety of space heaters. With such fires reported in the media, perhaps you’ve heard of a house fire caused by space heater use, and wonder if they are really safe?

The answer is yes, space heaters themselves are safe to use and must meet certain consumer safety standards. Safety issues arise when space heaters are not used properly or in a safe manner. The top causes of space heater fires are:

  1. Operating a space heater too close to flammable items
  2. Running space heaters unattended
  3. Operating a fuel-burning space heater with a dirty chimney
Are Space Heaters Safe?

There are two main types of space heaters: electric space heaters and fuel-burning space heaters. To operate your electric space heater safely and reduce your risk of danger, always follow the usage instructions below:

Keep the area surrounding your space heater clear at all times. The 3-foot radius around your space heater should be free of flammable items, such as curtains, blankets, papers, toys, and other materials.

Keep children away from space heaters. To avoid accidental burns or tipping the space heater over, keep children away from the space heater at all times. Create a child-free zone in the 3-foot area surrounding your space heater.

Never operate a space heater unattended. If a space heater is in operation, a responsible adult should always be present. Never leave a space heater running when the house is empty, or while you’re sleeping.

Use the space heater on a flat surface. Sitting a space heater on an uneven surface may cause it to tip over, and ignite nearby items.

Always plug your space heater into the wall socket. Do not operate a space heater with an extension cord. Extension cords are not meant to be permanent power solutions. They may overheat, or cause someone to trip, knocking over your space heater.

Purchase an electric space heater with added safety features. Models are available with automatic shutoff systems which will turn the unit off if tipped over.

How To Pest Proof Your HVAC Components

Prevent pest infestations and the problems which go along with it by taking steps to make sure your HVAC system and its components are protected.

Seal Your Ducts

Gaps, cracks, and larger disconnections in the duct system create points of access for pests to enter your HVAC system as well as your home or building’s interiors. Insects, mice, and larger vermin may enter the duct system, depending on the size of air leaks.

Not only can pests in your ducts cause damage to the ductwork itself, it can cause serious indoor air quality issues. Excrement and dander left behind by the pests will spread into your interiors as conditioned air circulates through the duct system, posing a health hazard to occupants.

Treating with pest poison isn’t an ideal strategy for a duct infestation. Sure, it can kill the pest, but they’ll likely die within your duct system, creating a problem in and of itself. Decaying rodent carcasses within your ductwork can spread odors through the structure, and locating them for removal can be a challenge. Spraying pesticides into the ducts will cause the pesticides to recirculate back into your home or business.

Trapping is a better option when ductwork is infested; live traps can be set inside the ducts to trap larger pests such as mice and rats, so they can be removed, while glue traps can be used to catch insects. Ductwork should be professionally sealed and you may elect to treat the home or business with pesticide to prevent reinfestation. Duct cleaning can remove dead pests as well as the debris they’ve left behind to improve indoor air quality.

Install flue and vent covers

Your HVAC system utilizes flue pipes to expel byproducts of combustion from the furnace; these pipes must be in good working order to protect occupants from dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning. If critters, such as birds and chipmunks, enter the flue pipes and perish, their remains can block the flue, forcing combustion byproducts back into the home or building.

Your home or business may also have fresh air intakes and other exterior vents which are components of ventilation systems, such as whole-home ventilation or exhaust fans for kitchens and bathrooms. Pests can enter the building through exterior vents, and often find these areas to be an ideal location to build their nest.

Vent covers should be installed on all exterior flues, intakes, and exhaust vents. These covers will block pests’ point of entry, preventing them from travelling inside your home or business, and keeping your pipes clear of nests. These covers have additional benefits, such as keeping rain water out of your vents. Make sure vent covers are installed securely; small animals can be resourceful, and may find a way to pull off your covers if they are not on tightly.

Protect your air conditioning condenser

Rodents and other small animals can cause great damage to your exterior air conditioning condenser. They can damage components by chewing, scratching, urinating, and more – even their presence can harm the system, should you happen to turn the air conditioning system on when they are inside.

Your best line of defense in protecting your condenser is preventing rodents from coming near it to begin with. Keep the area surrounding your condenser clear by cleaning around it on a regular basis. Cut away vegetation and clean excrement, which can attract vermin to the area initially. Warm water and a mild soap can be used to scrub the exterior of the unit as well as the surrounding area.

Use a pet repellant to deter animals from coming to the area. Pet repellants contain scents which are unattractive to animals, so by spraying it on the condenser its surroundings, animals will not want to come nearby. Pet repellants are a safer alternative to chemical pest treatments as they are natural, so you won’t risk the negative side effects of pesticide exposure when working to prevent pest issues.

Carbon Monoxide is the Silent Cold Weather Killer

When appliances are kept in good working condition, they produce little CO. But improperly operating or improperly vented appliances can produce elevated — even fatal — CO concentrations in your home. Likewise, using kerosene heaters or charcoal grills indoors, or running a car in a garage, can cause levels high enough to result in CO poisoning.

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Why Is My Heater Blowing Cold Air?

Wondering why your heater is blowing cold air? It might sound silly, but the thermostat is the first thing you want to look at. Confirm the system is set to “auto and not “on.” If the thermostat is set to “on” then your heating system will blow continuously, even when it isn’t heating the air being released, thus blasting cold air. Flipping it to “auto” will make sure the heating equipment only blows when it’s really heating the air to keep your home warm and comfortable.

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What Is A Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a standalone, two-component appliance that uses refrigeration technology and electricity to provide heating and cooling for homes, businesses and other applications.

A heat pump has two components – a condenser unit that most often sits outside of a home that produces the heating or cooling, and an indoor unit that typically sits on a wall and passes hot or cool air into the home; because the condenser and air handler are separated or “split” by refrigerant line, heat pumps may sometimes be referred to as “mini-splits.” Heat pumps offer extraordinarily high efficiency rates, as well as the opportunity to provide heating and cooling without needing duct work in the home; because duct work is not required, you may hear heat pumps referred to as “ductless.”

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

In the simplest terms, a heat pump uses electricity and refrigerant to move heat from one location to another.

To provide heat, a heat pump works by extracting heat from the air outside of your home and transferring it to refrigeration coolant – the coolant is then compressed, which increases the temperature significantly; the coolant is then moved to the indoor unit of the heat pump, which then passes air over the hot coolant, increasing its temperature to accommodate the thermostatic call for heat inside the home.

Want To Learn More About Heat Pumps in Oklahoma? Give us a call at 405-243-1613 or visit this webpage.

Why Are Air Filters In Your Home Important?

DID YOU KNOW? Regular filter changes cut 5% - 10% off your energy bill every month.

100% of the air in your home passes through a filter, typically twice every hour. Since clean, quality air filters keep the air in your home fresh, the people inside stay healthier. A quality filter captures the harmful bacteria typically found in sneezes, coughs, viruses and molds, as well as pollutants like dust and car fumes.

Clean filters also keep your HVAC system healthy—they enable it to run more efficiently, keep repair costs to a minimum, and reduce monthly energy bills. About half of your monthly energy bill is attributed to HVAC, and keeping clean air filters is the single most effective way to improve HVAC efficiency. Clogged filters make the HVAC work harder as it conditions your home, which raises your energy bill. (And if there are no filters, the coils will clog, which is even worse for your system.)

We recommend changing filters at least every 3 months, but every 1 to 2 months will usually serve you better (especially if you have a busy lifestyle, family with allergies, pets in the home, etc.).