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Your home in Columbia, Maryland, comprises systems that bring security and comfort to your family. Proper maintenance of all systems is a good step to take to make sure you are keeping your home safe from fire and other risks. The ventilation systems in your home help the heating, cooling, cooking, and appliances running properly, and checking them regularly can help minimize fire risk. Here are some places to add to your annual checklist.

Clean Your Dryer Vent

As your dryer runs through its drying cycle, small bits of lint collect in the dryer’s lint trap, which you should clean out after each use. Over time, lint also collects in the dryer vent, the long tube that connects to the back of the dryer and travels through your walls or floor to the outside. As the lint builds up, you may notice a decrease in drying performance. That’s a good indication that it’s time to clean out your vent.

This lint has the potential to catch fire from just a spark and is one of the most common causes of house fires. You can clean your dryer vent by blowing air through it from inside or by using a special brush that attaches to a drill and spins through the vent, collecting the lint as it travels through. Make dryer vent cleaning a part of your annual maintenance to decrease your fire risk and make sure you have optimal drying.

Regular HVAC Maintenance

No matter what kind of HVAC system you have, annual maintenance is vital to keep all the components running properly and keep your home safe and comfortable. Dust and dirt in the filters block the air from moving through the system efficiently and can pose a fire risk if a component shorts and causes a spark. You should check your filters at least every 90 days or more frequently if you have pets in the house.

As part of an HVAC maintenance agreement, we can check your HVAC components to make sure electrical parts are running properly and there are no leaks or clogs. We’ll perform a tuneup and make any necessary repair recommendations with an available discount on parts and labor. You can have tremendous peace of mind by having a professional, comprehensive check every year.

Proper Heating System Usage

Along with regular maintenance checks, it’s important to keep the area around the HVAC components clear. Check outdoor units to make sure organic debris and snow during storms don’t block any air intake or inhibit the fan’s movement. Indoors, avoid storing anything around the furnace or air conditioner unit. Keep at least 12 inches around the components clear, and never put flammable items like rags, cleaning products, or boxes in the way of airflow. Some HVAC components may get hot when the unit is running, and you want to avoid storing anything nearby that can catch fire.

Clean Chimneys Regularly

A wood-burning fireplace functions safely when you open a damper that lets the smoke escape through the chimney. Over time, creosote and other chemicals can build up in the chimney and increase the risk of catching fire and allow smoke to enter your home when you’re using the fireplace. If your chimney doesn’t have a mesh cap, birds can build nests inside, which block the smoke from escaping, and the organic material could catch fire by a spark.

If you enjoy having a fire for extra ambiance and warmth on a cold night, or if you supplement your heating with a wood-burning stove, make sure you have your chimney professionally cleaned on a regular basis. It’s important to be vigilant and perform regular maintenance on your ventilation systems to avoid fire risk in your home.

The professionals at Griffith Energy Services, Inc. are trained to keep your warm and safe with our maintenance agreements to cover all of your home’s systems. Call us today so we can perform the first check or assist with any repairs to help get your system in top shape for whatever weather is ahead.

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