Do It Yourself Heating Tips

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How do I prevent corrosion in my heating system?

DIY Project Keeps Sludge From Heating Systems

Here's a simple home DIY project that will help stop corrosion in your central heating system:

Did you know that oxygen in your heating system leads to corrosion and the buildup of sludge? You should bleed radiators each winter to remove air from heating systems. Then add a corrosion inhibitor, if sludge buildup persists.

Read the manufacturer's instructions for recommended amounts. Add a liquid inhibitor to the feed and expansion cistern of an open vent system. For a sealed system, buy a cartridge that injects the inhibitor through the air bleed valve on the radiator. Follow the manufacturer's instructions meticulously, and if you're in doubt it's always a good idea to call in a service contractor.

   
How can I fix leaks in the pipework of my heating system?

Fix Leaks in Heating System's Pipework

Oftentimes, homeowners can fix simple leaks in heating systems without calling a service professional.

-Soldered joints that have sprung a leak will need to be replaced. But first drain the system.
-Compression joint leaks sometimes can be fixed by tightening the nut by a quarter turn. Keep the other nut in place with a wrench, so the joint is not pulled from the pipe.

In most cases, a service professional is a wise choice and you should contact your retailer or manufacturer for help.

   
What should I do if my apartment radiator feels cold to the touch?

Trapped Air Keeps Radiator from Heating

Here is a common problem: The heat is on, but the radiator feels cold to the touch. This can be a sign that air is trapped in the system. In this situation, the radiator's air rises, keeping hot air from the top of the radiator. But the problem can be fixed easily:

First turn the heat off. Find the radiator key and loosen the valve. It should be located at one end of the radiator. You should hear a hissing sound when you loosen the valve - this means trapped air is coming out. There may be some water dripping under the radiator so be careful when you wipe up the water, it may be hot. As soon as water begins to flow in the radiator, close the vent. The heating can then be switched back on.

   
What do I do if my system is not heating?

No Heat or Hot Water? Check Power, Energy Supplies

If you have no heat or hot water, do a quick inspection of your heating system:

First, check to make sure the power supply is on. Has a fuse blown? Is the gas turned on? Is your oil storage tank empty?

If you cannot find any problems with power or energy supplies, make sure the system is on and the thermostat is set high enough. Next, check the pilot light. If it is not lit, you'll need to re-ignite by following the instructions in your owners manual.

If you still have not isolated the problem, check the pump to make sure it runs. An inoperable pump requires the services of a contractor. You also will have to contact a service contractor if you have sealed heating system.

   
How can I keep my home safe from carbon monoxide pollution?

Keep Harmful Gases From Indoor Air

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, unscented and at high levels can be a deadly gas. Lower concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause headaches, lightheadedness and fatigue. Winter months may pose health and safety risks with heating systems. Poorly maintained chimneys and flues may release carbon monoxide and other harmful gases into the air. Fireplaces and woodstoves that do not have ample outdoor air supply can pour carbon monoxide and other pollutants into living spaces. Here are some DIY home heating projects that will help keep the air clean, and keep you and your family safe:

- When using a space heater, allow some air flow in the room. Open a door in the room where the space heater is located. It's a good idea to crack a window as well.
- When using an un-vented kerosene or gas space heater, follow the manufacturer's instructions for fuel use and maintenance. A yellow-tipped flame is an indication of harmful gases. The flame tip should be blue.
- Don't use a gas stove to heat your home.
- Keep the flue open when the fireplace is in use.
- When purchasing a new woodstove, make sure it is sized properly for your home and meets EPA standards.

   
How can I make sure heating equipment does not emit pollution?

Furnaces and Flues Can Emit Harmful Gases

The indoor air flowing through your house may be the source of harmful pollution, if you do not do regular maintenance of heating equipment. Furnaces, flues and chimneys can emit harmful, even deadly, gases and toxins. Here are some tips to follow for keeping the air you breathe inside your home fresh:

- Follow instructions from the owner's manual for changing and cleaning air filters. If you do not have the owner's manual, change filters monthly, or at least twice each winter.
- Vent furnaces to the outdoors. If you have concerns, check with the Indoor Air Quality INFO Clearinghouse on the EPA's web site. It offers helpful advice for maintaining home heating equipment.
- Contact a service professional if you cannot do your own maintenance or have concerns about your heating system.

   
How can I keep the air clean when I use a woodstove to heat?

DIY Tips for Heating With Woodstoves

Many Americans who heat homes with furnaces also enjoy the warmth of a woodstove in a great room or kitchen. When heating with a woodstove, keep soot and harmful emissions from indoor air. Here are some DIY heating tips for the safe use of woodstoves:
1.) Make sure the doors fit tightly on your woodstove. If you have an older woodstove, the gaskets on the doors may contain asbestos. If you think they do, check the EPA web site for safe handling of asbestos, or contact a service professional.
2.) Use aged or dried wood in your woodstove. Don't use wood that is chemically treated or pressure-treated.
3.) Follow your owner's manual when starting, stoking and extinguishing the woodstove fire.

   
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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.