Prepare your fireplace and HVAC for winter chills

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While we may not experience the harsh temperatures, there are still a few things to do around the house to make sure it’s ready for chilly times this season. That includes preventing any potential fires.

With freezing temperatures in the forecast, now is the time we are turning on the heat and lighting the fireplace.

It’s been a while since you probably turned the heat on.

“One of the main things is to make sure that your system is up with the maintenance, the coils are cleaned and one of the basic and easiest things to do is to make sure that your filter is clean as well,” said Mirza Pilakovic, owner of Bold City Heating & Air.

Pilakovic said before you switch to cool to heat, a clean filter will go a long way and make sure that your blower wheel inside your furnace or air handler is clean.

“Fires can start if there’s a loose connection in the wire at the heating element,” said Pilakovic. “That’s why maintenance is important by a professional to make sure the heating element is properly installed and that no wires are touching and there are no loose connections.”

Chimneys are also a major source of house fires. The National Fire Safety Prevention Association reports failure to clean is a contributing factor In more than one in 4 home heating fires.

Mark Hudson is the CEO at Hudson Chimney in Middleburg. He said before you build a fire take a flashlight and look around.

“What happens when wood burns, every wood that you burn no matter if it’s oak, pine, hickory -- they all produce creosote,” said Hudson. “Creosote is a byproduct of wood-burning. It’s the carbons that burns off the wood. The carbon has moisture. It goes up and clings to the inside of the flue and it will dries there. You build a fire there and the flames could go up into the flue and when it does it could catch it on fire.”

Hudson said the best time to clean your chimney is early spring after you had your last fire.

“Don’t wait until the last second,” said Hudson. “We all do it, but let’s don’t do it because safety is more important than convenience.”

If you’re unsure or need maintenance call a professional. It could save your life.

Hudson said to make sure you use a certified chimney company through CSIA.org and search the Jacksonville area. He also said to make sure a fire extinguisher is on hand.


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