Tips to Prevent Accidental Household Fires

Posted on: January 9, 2020

With winter in full swing, temperatures low, and home heating units in use, having your system serviced can be essential to staying safe and warm this season. December, January, and February are high-fire-risk months. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), heating equipment is the number two cause of home fires. Of those, 64% of home heating fires are due to a failure to maintain equipment and 27% are caused by close proximity of heating equipment to flammable items.

Because of these startling statistics, we wanted to provide some great heating-related fire prevention tips to avoiding accidental house fires and keeping your family safe, warm, and protected this winter.

  1. Have your system maintained – Whether it’s once a year or twice a year, make sure you have an HVAC professional come out and service your heating system to ensure everything is working properly and any potential problems are identified and resolved.
  2. Upgrade to a central heating system – If it’s within your home budget to upgrade your system, central heat is the safest option from a home-fire perspective. Short Pump Heating & Air provides multiple home heating options and can provide insight on what the safest, most economical type of system would be for you and your home
  3. Annual chimney cleaning – Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, cleaning out your chimney annually helps prevent chimney fires. Sticky deposits, known as creosote, can build up along the walls and over a long period of time become highly flammable.  Removing this will significantly lower your risk for a chimney fire.
  4. Keep flammables 3 feet from heating equipment – Common household flammables often found by heating equipment include gasoline, clothing, paper, wood scraps, paint, bedding, drapery, and upholstered furniture. Be sure to provide at least 3 feet between flammable items and your heating equipment.
  5. Turn off heaters – When you are heading to bed or leaving your home, be sure to turn off any space heaters or heating equipment.
  6. Test smoke detectors twice a year – Be sure to check your smoke detectors throughout the house twice a year to ensure your safety in the event something catches fire.
  7. Use space heaters responsibly – Never leave a space heater unattended, keep it on a level, non-flammable surface, and only plug these into GFI systems.
  8. Have an evacuation plan – Sit down with your family and communicate an evacuation plan. Keep fire ladders in the upstairs rooms, identify where fire extinguishers are located and make sure your family knows what to do in the event of a house fire.

If you’re worried about the safety of your home or want your HVAC unit to be serviced, call Short Pump Heating & Air at 804-364-9040 or contact us online to discuss your maintenance options and additional safety procedures to ensure your home and family are safe this winter!

Why Is My Air Conditioner Making So Much Noise?

Posted on: May 22, 2019

Strange sounds coming from any appliance in your home can be alarming. When odd noises are coming from your air conditioner, your cooling system is likely experiencing some problems. Knowing what may be causing the screeching, rattling, or other unusual sounds from your AC can help you troubleshoot the problem—or know when it’s time to call for repair service.

Here’s a look at some of the most common noises ACs make, what they mean, and when to call an HVAC contractor for repair service.

6 Unusual Air Conditioner Noises & What They Mean

1. Grinding Noises

Grinding noises that sound like metal rubbing against metal typically indicate that:

  • A component is loose, damaged, or worn out.
  • At least one part needs to be replaced.

Since it’s difficult to know which part—or parts—may be causing the grinding noises, it’s best to contact an AC expert to inspect your system and making the proper repairs.

If you ignore this problem and let the loose or damaged components continue grinding as you run your air conditioner, they can damage surrounding parts. And that can increase the risk of system failures. It may even result in the need for early AC replacement.

2. Squeaking or Squealing

High-pitched squealing noises are most commonly associated with a belt in the fan assembly that’s past its prime. Less often, squeaking or squealing can be a red flag of problems with the fan bearings.

While these issues should be repaired promptly, they’re not an emergency. In other words, you won’t have to shut off your system or schedule emergency AC repair if your system starts squeaking or squealing.

3. Gurgling or Hissing Noises

Hissing or bubbling noises usually mean a problem with the refrigerant lines in your home’s AC system. Commonly, this will be a refrigerant leak that must be taken care of by a professional as soon as possible. That’s because refrigerant leaks often lead to AC system freezing or frost formation on the evaporator coils. And these issues can trigger complete system failures.

4. High-Pitched Screaming

Unlike a squeak or squeal, a loud screaming noise tends to indicate a more serious problem. This sound most commonly comes from the outdoor unit, which houses the condenser and the AC compressor.

Often, the screaming noise is due to excessive pressure building in the compressor unit. This is potentially very dangerous and should be repaired ASAP. If you notice this noise, shut your AC off and immediately make a call for emergency air conditioner repair service.

5. Repetitive Tapping

Fast-paced tapping or clicking noises from the outdoor AC unit usually mean debris has been caught in the fan. Sticks, leaves, bits of paper, and other debris can produce this noise. This isn’t an emergency, but you’ll need an expert’s help to take apart the unit, locate all of the debris, and remove it.

6. Electrical Clicking

Clicking noises, especially when heard indoors as your system cycles on or off, are usually related to serious electrical problems with components like:

  • The thermostat
  • An electrical connection
  • The AC wiring

Turn off your AC system and call for repair service whenever you hear this type of clicking.

Avoid AC Noises with Seasonal Air Conditioner Maintenance

Many AC noises and problems can be avoided entirely with regular system maintenance. These AC tune-ups include:

  • Compressor and condenser checks
  • Refrigerant inspections
  • Electrical connection checks
  • Air filter changes
  • Fan assembly calibrations
  • And much more

In other words, an annual AC tune-up offers your system all it needs to stay quiet, efficient, and fully functional.

Whether you need AC repairs to stop the noises coming from your system and fix the underlying issues causing them—or you’re ready to schedule AC maintenance service, Short Pump Heating & Air has you covered!

Call (804) 364-9040 or contact us online now to schedule service anywhere in the Short Pump or Richmond, VA, area!

How to Prevent Holiday Fires and Stay Safe

Posted on: December 12, 2018

We want everyone to have a safe holiday. The holiday season is all about joy and family. It can also involve a lot of open flames and cause serious property damage. When a home is filled with flammable objects, the risk of fire can increase up to 35 percent. Don’t let needless disasters happen to you when they can easily be prevented.

We at Short Pump Heating and Air are a part of your community. It is important to us that our customers remain safe and sound through the New Year and beyond. To ensure that everyone enjoys a safe holiday season, we offer the following tips.

The Stove

The holidays are all about friends and families getting together over a holiday meal. The excitement of celebrating can make people distracted and forget that there is something cooking on the stove, until the house becomes filled with smoke….

To keep this from happening, carry a pot holder with you as you leave the kitchen to remind you that the stove is on and something is simmering. Always keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach in the kitchen. Before the season even begins, check your smoke alarms to make sure they are is in good working order.

Many people like to enjoy a tasty, deep-fried turkey. Regardless of how cold it is outside, make sure the deep fryer is outside, a minimum of 10 feet from your home.

Candles

Tis the season for candles, and they are beautiful and romantic. They can also turn into a serious fire hazard. Make sure your candles are placed on a sturdy base and never leave your candles lit when unattended, even when leaving the room for a short time. Don’t forget that children are curious and will be drawn to lit candles. Their clothing and hair can catch fire in seconds.

Consider LED candles as a safe alternative to regular candles.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees dry out quickly and easily. They can be a stunning part of the holiday tradition, but the earlier you buy one, the sooner it will become dry and flammable. Make sure any outlet used for lights isn’t overcrowded. Don’t place your gorgeous tree near a space heater. Remember to water your tree every day to prevent it from drying and becoming more flammable.

Fireplace

Fireplaces turn magical during the holiday season. The chimney, after all, is Santa’s entryway into the house. Never allow children to be unattended when a fireplace is lit. Make sure ashes are moistened and disposed of properly. Always make sure the fire is put out before going to bed.

Decorative Lights

Check your holiday lights before you hang them as the strings can become frayed with use. Decorate the outside of your home by using clips instead of nails when hanging strings of light.

Matches

With fireplaces and candles being lit, matches can be left within reach of curious children. Take that extra step and keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.

Everyone at Short Pump Heating and Repair wishes you a joyful and safe holiday season. Call us at
(804) 364-9040 for any inspection. We care about the safety of your home. We are always here to help with your heating, cooling, and plumbing repair needs.

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