Whether you're using a heat pump or a fireplace insert, knowing how to maintain a safe environment while keeping the system efficient is a matter of looking closely at how any system is installed. Heat pumps are often out of the way, but in places that may seem like a good hiding place for children as they play games, while fireplace inserts can be a bold and tempting way to learn a hard lesson about life, pain, and burn marks. Here are a few safety and performance matters to keep in mind while looking through heating options.
With any heat-producing system, there will be a byproduct. In wood-burning fireplaces, smoke is a charred collection of burn material, and it isn't always the same depending on the wood your burn. Some woods may have specific types of resins, sugars, or other substances that add different risks to the smoke, so it's best to pipe it all out.
The same goes for fireplace inserts. Whether you're using a ventless or vented insert, you need to make sure your home is inspected yearly for air quality. This should be done by any household whether they have a fireplace or not, but is even more important for fuel-burning systems.
An air quality test involves using precision air quality sensors to detect levels of carbon monoxide, as well as byproducts from specific types of fuel. The fuel itself can also be a contaminant, and an air quality test will let you know if there is a slow leak of your fuel.
If you or your household feels more lethargic or tired than usual, don't blame it on busy life, the weather, stress, or a cold without also checking the air quality. In addition to leaking fuels or burned-off byproduct, other airborne contaminants such as black mold could be contributing to the problem.
Child And Pet Safety
Any heating element needs to be protected from tampering if you have children or pets in the household.
Curiosity is a powerful motivator, and it's too easy for a child to reach into an unprotected heating system or play with fuel supply hoses. The same goes with pets, as they may chew through or knock down the fireplace insert equipment if not secured to the wall or floor.
With standalone fireplace inserts, be sure to bolt down the insert to a stable surface. Floor-mounted plates can be added to bolt in the fireplace insert, and the mounting equipment can be covered with rounded molding or caps to reduce the tripping hazard.
For wall-mounted inserts, you still need to be aware of any hoses or connectors. Make sure that all hoses, connections, and cables are covered by runners secured to the floor, or sheathing material that children and pets can't get through easily.
With any heating device, burns are a concern. Even if it isn't a third-degree burn risk, it's best to protect children from easily hurting themselves. Putting a tall cage over the front of the fireplace and securing it with bolts is fine for those early years where a small child could accidentally push away a free-standing cage, and the bolts can be removed as the children grow older.
Contact a fireplace insert and heat pump contractor such as C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning to discuss your heating options and the safety checkpoints associated with each product.