Heater systems can fail critically when not maintained properly. The dust and debris that builds over time can create either a disgusting burning smell or an actual fire that could threaten you or your family. As you prepare for the next chilly season, consider a few maintenance points for heater filters, air distribution systems and ways to avoid a dusty fire hazard.
How Does Bad Maintenance Lead To Fires?
Dust collects on any surface, and heaters are especially bad for attracting dust. Not only do you have the dust that settles on anything in the home; a heating unit dries out the surrounding area and may have some charred materials that becomes ash.
As the dust and ash settle on the filter, a blanket of flammable material is created. The ash isn't as much of a problem, but can create a binding point for other flammable debris. When the heater is on, the lack of airflow allows just enough air to allow fires to start while causing overheating due to a lack of airflow. The filter can burn, and your home with it.
The simple way to solve the problem is to inspect your filter. Don't just clean it off with a brush and put it back in place; fire damage could have already happened and your filter may have holes along its surface. Inspect for any holes or burned on materials that could cause filter failure. If there's damage, replace the filter.
Inspecting For Wire Burnout
Heaters generate heat, which makes their components more susceptible to damage. The wiring is often the first place to suffer damage, but there are things you can do to relieve the problem before it gets worse.
Look for any burnt or frayed wires near the heater's switch and heating element. Be sure to write down any color codes, as it makes replacing the wires easier. The wire colors correspond to different instructions, such as providing an electrical signal to turn the heat up, down or off. Temperature sensors and other safety mechanisms are also attached via specific wires, which may not work correctly if not re-wired properly.
You can find replacement wiring at most hardware stores, but you need the proper wire type and signal in order to get the heater to work properly. Unfortunately, every heater is different and requires meter testing to make sure that your replacement wires are capable of transferring enough electricity. Contact a heater repair professional for assistance if you don't have the equipment or experience. To learn more, visit Gene's Plumbing.