The Dangers of an Unmaintained Gas Furnace

The Dangers of an Unmaintained Gas Furnace

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  • Furnaces
Furnace maintenance by MillTown Plumbing

Your furnace is responsible for keeping you and your loved ones warm throughout the fall and winter months. As temperatures drop, we rely more and more on our furnace. Extended use can cause stress for your heating system if it hasn’t been properly maintained. If your furnace is broken or damaged, it can be a safety hazard for your home and loved ones. If you have a gas furnace in your home, it’s essential to know precisely what the dangers are of an unmaintained gas furnace.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that’s a byproduct of burning carbon-based fuel. It can make humans and animals very sick, causing symptoms such as headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, and confusion. In high concentrations, it can be fatal.

While all gas furnaces produce a small amount of carbon monoxide, this is usually expelled from the home through the vent system. However, a gas furnace that’s not maintained can produce high levels of carbon monoxide because of the buildup of dirt in the filter or combustion chamber. This can release carbon monoxide into the air supply. At the same time, fractures in the heat exchanger can release the gas. In addition, if the furnace door is damaged and doesn’t close properly, it can cause more carbon monoxide to escape.

Gas Line Leaks

Because gas is combustible, gas line leaks are extremely dangerous. They’re the cause of many home fires and can even cause explosions.

An unmaintained gas furnace might have cracks or holes in the gas lines, and the gas valve might be broken or connections might be loose. Any of these vulnerabilities can be places where gas can escape into your home.

If you smell a bad odor — usually like rotten eggs — and/or hear a hissing sound, you’ve got a gas leak. Evacuate your home immediately, and call the fire department.

Fire Hazard

In addition to gas line leaks, a gas furnace can be a fire hazard for several other reasons. If there are broken parts, the furnace won’t function properly, which could pose a fire risk. Dust and dirt can build up, and when they get hot, they can catch fire. In addition, if there’s clutter within two feet of the furnace, this could be a fire hazard too as it can overheat and ignite.

Always Maintain Your Gas Furnace

Fortunately, you can avoid all of these dangers by properly maintaining your gas furnace. You should regularly — about once a month — inspect it for any visual signs of damage such as dents, cracks, or loose valves. Make sure that the ignition light is burning blue. If it’s yellow or some other color, then there’s a problem with the combustion and you need to have a technician take a look right away. You should also listen for unusual sounds, as they can also indicate damage. Refer to the manual to determine whether the filters need to be replaced or cleaned and how often. For the best and safest results, follow these instructions to the letter.

Finally, make sure to schedule annual maintenance by a qualified technician. This will not only keep your furnace running energy-efficiently and prolong the appliance’s life, but also ensure it’s running properly so it’s safe for you and your family to use.

If your furnace needs maintenance or repair, call MillTown today! Our qualified and trained technicians will have your heating system running safely and efficiently in no time. 

By Milltown Plumbing

How to Winterize Hot Water Heaters

How to Winterize Hot Water Heaters

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Hot water heaters

Hot water heaters are responsible for delivering hot water throughout your entire home. Every time you take a shower or wash the dishes, your hot water heater is helping you. Whether your system is electric or fuel-powered, it provides you and your loved ones with warm water throughout your home. such an important part of your home should be serviced regularly, right?

Imagine losing your access to hot water when you need it most! During the winter months, when temperatures drop, and storms are likely, it’s important to make sure that your appliances are working in top shape. A step in this process that you may want to consider is winterizing your hot water heater. Here are a few things you should know about how your hot water heater works, and how you can prepare it for the upcoming winter season.

How Hot Water Heaters Works

In order to properly winterize the water heater in your home, you need to know what kind of system you have in place. Here are the different types of hot water heaters that may be providing your home with hot water:

  • Storage tank heaters are the most common water heating systems that are at work in most modern homes. They run on either electricity or fuel; electric heaters will connect to your home service panel and fuel powered will have vents to rid of the exhaust. Both systems work to deliver hot water throughout your home by way of its piping system. For example, when you turn on your shower, hot water is pumped through from your water heater.
  • Tankless hot water heaters distribute hot water throughout your home as it’s used, rather than in bulk with a storage tank. As your water boiler heats water, the water heats a coil of pipe that delivers hot water to your taps.
  • Heat pumps use electricity to shift heat around, rather than heating areas directly. They can be purchased as standalone models, or they can be added to existing models to increase productivity.
  • Solar heaters use the suns energy to heat stored water. While they can prove to be very cost efficient in the long run, they typically require a backup system in the event that the sun isn’t out for a long period of time. Location of solar equipment is also important, it must be placed in a spot with maximum exposure to the sun, like your roof.
  • Condensing heaters are used with gas heating systems. A tank is in the place like an average water heater, but a condensing system captures hot exhaust gasses. Traditionally, they would be expelled through a flue but instead, they are gathered to continue heating the water.

How Winter May Affect it

Cold weather can take a toll on certain systems in your home, especially those in place that are intended to provide heat. If your water heater takes more time to heat, or if it shuts down completely, not only will you be without hot water, but your home could face damage as well, like freezing pipes.

Say your heater is set to heat water to 120 degrees. If it’s working properly, it will always heat your water to that specific temperature. However, if it’s working in colder temperatures because the weather outside is freezing, it may take a considerable amount of time longer to reach the desired temperature. Hot water usage tends to increase in the colder months as well; warm showers or baths may be used to compensate for the cooler weather outside. If your water heater is due for servicing or you suspect that it may not be working as well as it should contact a local professional to come take a look.

What Homeowners Can Do

While contacting a professional is always a smart choice, there are steps that you can take on your own to winterize the tank or tankless water heater in your home:

  1. Locate your water shut-off valve and turn it off. This could be located inside or outside of your home, but it’s important that you know it’s location. After shutting off the water supply, unplug your water heater, or turn of the fuel source powering it. Be sure to see that the pilot light has gone out and that the knob is in the off position.
  2. Once the heater is turned off, you can drain the remaining water in the tank using a bucket or hose leading to a designated drainage area. Open faucets and fixtures throughout your house, including outside hose connections. Water will drain on its own and eventually stop altogether.
  3. Pipes leading to and from your water heater can be wrapped for insulation purposes. Blankets are made to specifically protect and insulate the heaters themselves; it can be wrapped around the exterior. This step is optional but recommended for use before freezing temperatures have passed.
  4. Different protection methods will be necessary for solar heaters, and a professional should be contacted to ensure that they aren’t damaged.

Now that you know how different waters work in your home, you’re ready to prepare them for the cold winter months that are headed your way.

Call Milltown Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Drain Cleaning today for more information on hot water heaters!

By Milltown Plumbing

Milltown Recognized as One of the Fastest Growing Private Businesses in America

Milltown Recognized as One of the Fastest Growing Private Businesses in America

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Inc. 5000 Award Letter

Milltown’s Inclusion as #1447 in Inc.’s annual list of the top 5000 fastest-growing private businesses in America marks a milestone for the company.

MillTown Plumbing, Heating, AC, and Drain Cleaning has been notified of their inclusion as business #1447 on the 2017 Inc. 5000. With locations in Nashua, NH and Chelmsford, MA, Milltown has been delivering exceptional home maintenance and service to their dedicated customers’ homes and businesses for over 35 years. MillTown received a letter on August 8th from Eric Schurenberg, President and Editor in Chief of Inc. Media, notifying them of this recent commendation.

For 36 years, Inc. has used this list to recognize the fastest-developing companies in America. Milltown joins an elite pedigree of previous Inc. 5000 companies, including Microsoft, GoPro, Patagonia, Grubhub, Zappos, and Timberland.

“Companies that made this list, on average, have grown sixfold since 2013,” the letter states, “and during a stretch when the economy grew just 6.7 percent, that’s a result most businesses could only dream of.”

MillTown is ecstatic to hear this news, and guarantees it will continue to bring residents of Northeastern Mass. and Southern New Hampshire the best residential and commercial plumbing, heating, cooling, drain cleaning services that any home or business owner should expect. Call Milltown today for any of your home service and home maintenance needs to experience the Milltown Difference that sets them apart from the rest!

Call MillTown today for the highest quality plumbing, heating, cooling, and drain services!

By Milltown Plumbing