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Beware of These Silent Dangers at Home

09 December 2017

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226 or texting 81807.  Here’s the must-know information our Vice President of Sales, Alex Lindus, shared on 12.9.17. 

Alex’s family has a shared heated garage on some land that they own.  When his father stopped in to check on it, he noticed the building had grown cold and attempted to run on the heat.  Having difficulties, he reached out to Alex to ask if he’d lit the furnace’s pilot.  Alex informed his dad that this furnace was equipped with an electronic igniter.  Stating that he was out of ideas to try to make the furnace work, Alex’s dad mentioned he was going to call a HVAC professional out to take a look at it.  Alex then asked his dad if there was a green light flashing on the control panel of the furnace and his father confirmed there was.  Learning this, Alex informed his dad that the light signaled that the exhaust vent on the outside had frozen.  That’s because the furnace was equipped with a safety feature that forces it to shut down if it’s unable to vent in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  However, since this safety setting isn’t often activated, it can be easy for a homeowner to panic and call a costly HVAC service for a straightforward fix.

In addition to furnaces, hot water heaters can also be a hidden home danger.  Alex shared another real life scenario where an area man passed away from carbon monoxide because his home’s hot water heater wasn’t venting properly.  The man had fallen asleep on his basement couch and never woke up.  This is why it’s critical to have a carbon monoxide detector installed on each level of your home.  It truly can be life-saving.basement

Continuing on the topic of furnaces, Paul in Eden Prairie called in to ask Alex’s thoughts on why his furnace heats his home hotter than what his thermostat is set at.  Alex explained that in some scenarios a furnace works so quickly that a thermostat can’t register the increase in heat fast enough and a home’s temperature can exceed the temperature set on the thermostat.  This situation also indicates that a home is properly insulated because it’s able to retain heat so well.  A blower door test can verify this and also help determine if a home’s thermostat has optimum placement.

The next topic of discussion was prompted by a new homeowner that wanted advice on which aspects of home maintenance shouldn’t be ignored.  Alex noted that experience is the best teacher but at this time of the year, it’s critical to make sure a furnace filter is routinely changed in order to ensure the longevity of the system.  He also stressed the importance of getting into the home’s attic because it allows a homeowner to evaluate how their home is performing.  Winter is a great time to evaluate for moisture, frost and leakage.

If moisture within a home goes undetected, dry rot can be the result.  Earlier this year, Alex and his cousin were at a client’s home installing siding.  At this particular project, all of the sheathing and walls were rotten because moisture had gotten trapped in the wall cavity.  Immediately as he entered the home, he sensed the moisture levels were excessive, much higher than the recommended 25-30%.

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