Decorating Safety Tips for Your HVAC System

As the holiday season approaches, many of us invest in decorating to put us more in the holiday spirit. Lights, candles, pictures, figurines, trees, and so much more make up the perfect decorations. However, it’s imperative that you’re safe when decorating around your HVAC system to ensure that you don’t cause any damage to it over the holiday season.

Be Mindful of Tree Placement

If you’re like many people, you’re going to have a live tree in your home during the holiday season. While this can boost the pine smell in your home and give you a fresh outdoor perspective, it can also be dangerous. You need to ensure that your tree is at least 30 feet away from any of your heating sources. Having a fire extinguisher nearby can help extinguish any fires that break out. If you invest in an artificial tree, you’ll want to choose one that is rated as fire-resistant.

Watch Out for Vents

One of the most common mistakes that homeowners make when decorating for the holiday season is covering their vents. If you have a forced-air furnace, then you will have supply and return vents throughout all the rooms of your home. These vents need to stay open and have a large open space around them to ensure optimal movement of air throughout your home. Don’t place any items on or near your vents, as they could obstruct the airflow.

Keep Your Thermostat Clear

Your thermostat needs to be able to sense the ambient temperature in your home. If you cover it up, it’s going to have difficulty doing so. Additionally, you want to ensure that you keep lights and other hot items away from your thermostat. These lights could create warm air around them that interferes with the sensor on your thermostat. You’ll discover that very quickly when your home feels cold, but your thermostat is reading its normal temperature.

Keep Your Units Clear

Whether you have a single furnace, radiator, or on-the-wall heat pump units, they all have one thing in common. They need to be free of decor. You don’t want to have any items within a few feet of your radiators and wall units, as the decor could hinder their proper operations. Additionally, you want to keep all items at least 10 to 15 feet away from your furnace. Anything close could turn into a fire hazard.

Avoid Decorating Near Your Outdoor Unit

If you have an outdoor unit as part of your HVAC setup, then you need to be mindful of it while decorating. You want to keep all items at least three feet away from your unit. Keeping any objects closer can mean a hindrance to the performance of your system. This could end up costing you more for utilities throughout the holiday season and stress the components inside of your HVAC system because they’re being overworked.

Avoid Decorations That Deteriorate

It’s important to remember that a forced-air HVAC system circulates air throughout your home. You need to ensure that this air is free from unwanted debris. Unfortunately, some decorations can easily deteriorate and may be drawn inside your air vents. These include decorations like artificial garlands and tree tinsel.

Change Your Air Filter

As you unbox your holiday decorations, it’s likely that there’s going to be some dust and other airborne particles. Your HVAC system has an air filter that is responsible for trapping unwanted pollutants. It’s a good idea to replace your system’s air filter a couple of days after decorating. This will provide a new filter to help remove any excess toxins that are in the air, boosting your indoor air quality level.

Avoid Excessive Candle Burning

Candles can look beautiful and create a relaxing environment. Unfortunately, they can also release a lot of soot into the air inside your home. This can prematurely wear out your HVAC air filter and require replacements more often. Additionally, real candle flames can create a fire hazard. It’s best to opt for limited candle burning. Consider replacing them with fake candle lights powered by batteries for optimal home safety.

Don’t Cover Up Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

As you go into decorating mode, it’s easy to forget about all those safety devices throughout your home. You want to make sure that you stay aware of your carbon monoxide and smoke detector locations. They need to have adequate airflow around them in order to sense when there is a problem. Make sure that you don’t cover them up, as that could diminish adequate airflow and reduce their performance.

Always Opt for Non-Toxic Decorations

In recent years, many studies have revealed that some of our favorite holiday decorations have toxic chemicals in them. Some of these chemicals include lead and bromine. You can find them in some beaded garlands, tinsel, artificial trees, and even fake wreaths. Whenever you bring these toxins into your home, they can enter your indoor air and circulate throughout your home and HVAC system. It’s best to avoid this problem by ensuring that you check the label on the decor that you purchase to ensure that it states that it’s “non-toxic.”

Don’t Use Fake Snow

One popular decorating item that many have used over the last decade is canned fake snow. This artificial snow is sprayed out of a can and is intended to make a more realistic scene for homeowners. However, this canned snow can be extremely toxic. It will release chemicals when you spray it, and these chemicals will get pulled into your HVAC system via your ductwork. This will not only significantly reduce your indoor air quality level, but it can further damage the interior components of your HVAC system and potentially create a fire hazard.

Don’t Block Exterior Flues

Most HVAC systems will have a flue that runs through an existing chimney or pipe to vent toxic fumes from the combustion process to the outdoors. If this flue is covered or has airflow restrictions due to exterior decorating, it can cause those poisonous fumes to back up into your home. Avoid placing any decorations on or even near your flue as you want to prevent anything from blocking it.

Keep Your Fuel Supply Open

If your heating system runs on propane or heating oil, then you have a storage tank on your property. Sometimes this tank will be situated outside of your home, and other times it may be situated in your basement with a fuel supply line to the exterior of your home. When you’re decorating, you need to avoid placing any decor near your tank so that your fuel supplier can easily access the tanks for refilling throughout the winter season.

Make Sure Your Wintertime Maintenance Is Complete

As you decorate for the holiday season, it’s imperative to keep in mind that your unit should’ve received professional maintenance to prepare it for the winter months. If you forgot, now is the time to get your maintenance scheduled so that you can drastically reduce your risk of experiencing system failure during the colder winter months.

Helpful HVAC Services

On Time Experts offers heating and cooling installation, repair and maintenance services for the entire Garland, TX region. We can also help with all your air quality, duct cleaning and plumbing needs. Call On Time Experts today to set up your next service appointment.

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