Monday, November 03, 2014

Heating Season

Yay!  November is here and the bickering can cease.  Eleven months of the year, I have a wonderful, strong marriage but my husband and I just don't seem to get along in October.  You see, he believes you should control the thermostat by the calendar and I think that the thermometer is a better gauge.  He believes in not turning the heat on till the first of November.   And when the house is 58 degrees, I go to local restaurants to use the bathroom.  In fact, I spend as much time away from home as possible.

The past year, I've run into more then my fair share of bad furnace situations, and so this seems to be a great time to chat about furnace safety and care.

During my real estate transactions during the past year, I've run into at least three furnaces with both cracked heat-exchangers and totally clogged furnace filters.  That's not a coincidence.  When you fail to change your furnace filters and they become clogged, a forced-air furnace must work much harder to force that warm air through your home.  That stress can cause a premature crack in the heat-exchanger.  In one case this year, the furnace was only five years old but so was the furnace filter.  It had never been changed.  So, please, please, please determine how often your filer needs to be changed and do so.

A cracked heat-exchanger can produce carbon monoxide, especially in newer high-efficient furnaces.  So can water heaters, gas stoves, gas fireplaces, automobiles and other appliances that burn gas.  That is why New York state law requires all homes to have a working carbon monoxide detector.  Since carbon monoxide is a completely odorless gas, it's not a bad idea to have a detector on each level of your home.  And a carbon monoxide detector lasts about 5 to 7 years and so it's not a bad plan to purchase a new one every 2 to 3 years and rotate them out of service.  Don't forget to change out those batteries when you do your smoke detectors.

Whenever, I list a property I strongly encourage the seller to have the heating system serviced and inspected before the property goes on the market.  That is because if there are issues, we want to know about them before a buyer does.  To learn that there is a bad furnace after an offer has been accepted, means only one thing and it is not good for the seller.  It constantly amazes me how many families do not have their heating system regularly maintained by a professional.   If you need a referral for someone that is reliable and reasonable, don't hesitate to let me know.

Carbon monoxide safety is a personal issue for me.   I lost a brother to carbon monoxide poison more than 30 years ago.  If you switch a button and it suddenly gets warm in your home, it's easy to get complacent about furnace safety but I hope this will serve as a wake up call.

Stay warm!