Safety Checks for Fall

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Top 5 Tasks for September

If you only do five home care tasks in September, here are the ones that we recommend you do that will help you to save energy, maintain safety, and avoid problems this winter.

FURNACE AND WATER HEATER ANNUAL SERVICE

This task involves scheduling a trained service professional to do a thorough inspection, cleaning and adjustment of your furnace and water heater. There are two important reasons for having this done each year:

  1. Safety
  2. Helps maintain the energy efficiency of these appliances.

This is a task that is best left to a trained professional. However, here is a checklist of questions that you should be sure to ask your furnace service technician furnace questions checklist. We suggest that you do this task in September for two reasons, first because if a problem is found, you will have time to get it remedied before the heating season, secondly, your service provider will likely get very busy as the heating season approaches.

TESTING GFI OUTLETS dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud,  dryer vent installation St. Cloud,  dryer vent service St. Cloud,  fireplace brick repair St. Cloud,  fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud,  fireplace damper repair St. Cloud,  fireplace damper replacement St. Cloud, chimney masonry repairs St. Cloud, chimney repairs St. Cloud, chimney sweeping St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloud

Have you ever noticed that the outlets in your bathroom, kitchen and outdoors have little “test” buttons on them? These are special outlets called “ground fault interrupters” or “GFIs.” They are placed in locations where there can be water present, and their purpose is to automatically shut off if there is a potential for an electrical shock. So for example, if you are using a hair dryer and you are on a wet floor, then rather than shocking you, the GFI will trip off. The problem is that over time, the mechanism inside of the outlet can stop working. So it is very important to test each of these outlets to be sure that they are working properly. To test a GFI outlet, just plug a small electrical appliance into the outlet, and then press the “test” button on the outlet. The appliance should immediately shut off. If it does not, then this outlet should not be used until the GFI has been replaced (helpful accessory: GFI testers).

CHECK OUTSIDE DRYER VENT FLAP

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 At least once a year you should check your outside dryer vent to be sure that it is not clogged and stuck in the open position.  When your dryer operates it blows hot exhaust air out of your home through vent piping.  This hot air carries lint with it which can accumulate around the vent where the pipe exits your home.  This vent has a flap that opens when the hot air is blowing, and then closes when the dryer stops blowing the air.  But as lint builds up around the vent flap, it can cause the flap to get stuck open, allowing pests to enter your home, and increasing your energy costs by allowing air conditioned and/or heat to be lost from your home.

OUTSIDE LIGHTING INSPECTION

If any of your outside light fixtures have bulbs that have burned out, then September is a good month to replace them before the weather gets bad, and daylight hours start getting shorter. While you are checking your outside lighting fixtures for burnt out bulbs, you should also take the opportunity to: clear away any dirt and debris; check for any broken connections or fixtures; and clean the glass fixtures so that you get the most benefit from the light bulbs. One last tip is that you might want to consider replacing your bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

SMOKE DETECTOR INSPECTION

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To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242 online at https://sweepdreamschimneyservice.com/

 

Wood Stove: What You Need to Know

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A Wood Stove is a closed metal box with a high-temperature clear ceramic window that burns wood logs to create heat.  A Wood Stove can be a free-standing unit, or it can be a ‘fireplace insert’ which sits inside of a traditional fireplace.

A Wood Stove is different than a wood-burning Fireplace, which may have glass doors, but is not a closed metal box.  And it is different than a Pellet Stove, which also has a closed metal box, but rather than burning full logs, a Pellet Stove burns special pieces of formed wood material called “pellets.”

Many homeowners who are concerned about rising oil, gas, and electricity prices have wood burning stoves to help reduce their heating costs, others like the aesthetic value of a wood stove.  A wood burning stove must be properly installed and maintained to ensure safe operation.

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Routine Care Task

Clean and inspect stove and stovepipe

Priority

Chimney fires can be very dangerous, and this task helps to prevent them.

Timing:

June (yearly)

How To Prevent

A professional chimney sweep will thoroughly clean your fireplace and chimney and will check for defects.  Or you can do the work yourself, if you have the proper brushes and vacuums and don’t mind the mess or hassle.

The tasks include:

Inspect for creosote deposits in the flue.  If greater than 1/8″ in thickness, then the chimney flue should be cleaned.

Check the firebox for damaged brick or mortar.dryer vent cleaning service Sauk Rapids, dryer vent service St. Cloud, fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud, furnace duct cleaning St. Cloud, chimney inspection St. Cloud, chimney sweeping St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning cost St. Cloud

Check the damper for operation and snug fit.  Also inspect for cracks, pitting or rusted-out sections.

Check the flue for broken or damaged bricks on the flue liner.  Cracking is a sign that there has been a flue fire and is a potentially serious problem.

Benefits

  • Health & Safety
  • Avoiding Unscheduled Repairs
  • Maintaining Value
  • Energy Savings

The benefits of this task are high, as it helps prevent dangerous and costly chimney fires.

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The cost of this task is moderate, and requires the scheduling of a qualified chimney sweep.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

 

 

Re-posted by: Home Wizard

 

Facts About Gas Fireplaces

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A gas fireplace can be a very clean, energy-efficient way to heat your home, while adding a special charm. Whether you have one, or are thinking about getting one, here are some safety tips and maintenance tasks you should consider.

Types of Gas Fireplaces

There are three different types of gas fireplaces, and each has its own set of advantages and operating needs: Fireplace Inserts; Direct Vent Fireplaces; and Vent-Free Fireplaces. Each type can have additional features such as fans which circulate the heat into the room, automatic thermostats, remote controls, etc. And most will operate during power failures, which is a nice plus (although the electric fan will not work until the power comes back on).

If you are thinking about getting a gas fireplace, here’s an important tip: if you enjoy watching the flames, then do not get one that is too high of capacity (BTU/hour heat rate) for the size of your home, otherwise, because they are so efficient, it may only need to operate for a short while and then shut off after quickly bringing your room up to temperature.

Fireplace Inserts

Gas Fireplace Inserts are installed in the opening of an existing wood burning fireplace, and they are vented throughfurnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloud the existing chimney with a special vent pipe that carries the exhaust to the outside. Depending on the particular model of insert, the combustion air can either come from a pipe layer which is around the exhaust pipe, or it can come from inside of your home (it is more energy efficient to have a style that uses outside air), and some models have outside air vents.

 

Direct Vent Fireplaces

Direct vent fireplaces can be vented directly through an exterior wall, and do not require a traditional masonry chimney. Like fireplace inserts, direct vent gas fireplaces come in styles which can either bring combustion air from the outside, or from the room inside. And again, the models which use combustion air from the outside are more efficient, because you are not burning heated air from your home. These models can operate at or near 90 percent efficiency. Some models can even produce up to 45,000 BTU/hour, which can be as much as some furnaces.

Vent-Free Fireplaces

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Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Have your fireplace inspected and serviced by a trained professional at least once a year. This is best done just before the heating season begins.

If you’re moving into a newly constructed home, clean the area around the fireplace thoroughly of drywall dust and other debris before turning it on. Contaminants and dirt can damage the burner, fan, and motor. Before you turn on your newly installed fireplace, read the manufacturer’s instruction manual carefully. If you have questions, contact a heating contractor or contact the manufacturer directly.

Never modify your fireplace or the mantle before checking with a heating contractor.

Always wait for at least five minutes before lighting a pilot light that has gone out (to allow time for gas to dissipate).

Even if your gas fireplace is vented to the outside, consider putting a carbon monoxide detector in the room where your fireplace is located (see types, costs, and reviews of CO alarms).

If you notice unusual flames, odors or the smell of natural or propane gas, turn off your fireplace and contact a heating contractor or your local gas company.

Always keep your fireplace fan clean.

Always keep outside air vents clear of leaves, debris, ice, and snow.

Do not keep combustible materials such as newspapers, paint or other flammable liquids near the fireplace. In addition, keep furniture, curtains, and rugs away from the fireplace.

Keep children away from the fireplace. Even though the flames are behind glass, the glass can get very hot and can stay hot even after the fireplace is turned off.  Make sure children understand that the glass can burn them. Use a safety gate or screen to keep children away from the fireplace (helpful accessory: child safety fences).

Do not use the fireplace if the glass doors are broken or cracked.  Keep the gas turned off and refer to the owner’s manual for how you should proceed.

If you have a Vent-Free Gas Fireplace (which vents exhaust to the room they are in) then there are some special safety issues which you should be sure to address:

  • Be sure that the unit is not too large for the room that it is in, or it can dangerously remove too much oxygen from the room.
  • You must have either an oxygen depletion sensor (“ODS”) built into the unit or one in the same room it is in.
  • Don’t run your Vent-Free fireplace for long periods of time, as this can lead to oxygen depletion and carbon monoxide build-up

Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Shown below are the routine maintenance tasks which you should be sure to perform on your gas fireplace.

As mentioned above, before each heating season be sure to have your gas fireplace inspected and serviced by a trained professional.

Things you will want to be sure they check are:

  • clean the glass and check for irregularities
  • inspect, clean and adjust pilot system
  • check and clean the control compartment
  • inspect entire venting system
  • check on/off switch and thermostat
  • check and clean blower (if applicable)
  • adjust the primary air shutter
  • check combustion chamber for any cracks
  • adjust the primary air shutter
  • check the valve pressure
  • inspect the heat-exchange area
  • verify the log positioning
  • check the tightness of all electrical connections
  • sweep and vacuum the firebox to remove any loose soot
  • replace ember material as necessary
  • conduct a gas sniffer test to detect any gas leakage

Be sure to check your room carbon monoxide detector regularly.

And never clean the outer glass if the glass is even the slightest bit warm because the pores in the glass will expand and draw the glass cleaner into the pores, which may cause the glass to become cloudy.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.