Prep your heat system for winter use

  • Fri Oct 21st, 2016 11:10pm
  • Life

In our moderate climate, we can sometimes take our safe, heated homes for granted.

But with the rains and lower temps returning, we think it’s a good time to consider maintenance on whatever heating system you have.

We talked about wood stoves and fireplaces last week. To review: the upshot is to make sure you have your chimney inspected and cleaned every year to prevent creosote buildup.

Also, we reminded you that burning seasoned wood keeps the creosote down and keeping that wood 25 feet from your living space, if possible, can help keep the insects out.

For those of you with a different kind of heating device, pay close attention today. We will review how to make sure each type of heat is safe and effective.


Many people on the Twin Harbors have electric baseboard heaters or wall register (cadet) heaters. These need some attention at the beginning of the heating season.

When we aren’t using the heaters during the summer months, we can become lax in keeping flammable items too near them.

So, clean your wall register (cadet) or baseboard-type heaters of dust and foreign objects. Then maintain 3 feet of clearance from the heat source.

Even if you have started them up for the season, if you haven’t dusted them off, take a warm day to turn them off and give them a thorough inspection and dusting.


If you use propane in your home for cooking and/or heating, now is a good time to make sure you’ve got plenty in the tank before heading into our chilly season.

It’s also a great time to service and inspect your LP insert or furnace appliance.

Just like any other heating appliances, maintain distance between it and any type of combustibles including furniture, curtains, papers, etc.


While not often installed in newer homes, plenty of homes on the Twin Harbors still have oil furnaces

If that applies to you, it’s important to have your furnace serviced, cleaned and inspected before the winter begins. Not only will the maintenance make your furnace more efficient – saving you money – it will also help prevent the hassle of having it break down when you least expect it.

Additionally, having your furnace serviced cleaned and inspected, can help prevent fire.


As we said last week, fire can be fast and ferocious. So, if you haven’t already done so, make sure to install one smoke alarm in every bedroom as well as the kitchen and other rooms. Getting out quickly is the best way to survive a fire, and an alarm gives you extra time to do that.

Nov. 5, the day daylight savings time ends this year, has become the traditional reminder day to check your smoke alarms and change your batteries. But if you are installing new smoke alarms in your home anyway, do it now. If not, mark your calendar and get to it on Nov. 5.

One little reminder: Sometimes an alarm, usually one close to the kitchen, goes off when someone burns toast and the quick way to silence it is to take out the battery. The problem with this, firefighters say, is that folks forget to put the battery back in. They’ve attended many a fire with smoke alarms present, but lacking their battery. Don’t let that be your house.


While you’re thinking about safety, consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can cause sickness or even death. It is a natural result of burning fossil fuels – oil, wood, gas – and can become a hazard if the appliances aren’t used as intended or are used without proper ventilation.

All rental properties are required to have a CO detector on each floor preferably near the bedrooms.



In an unrelated matter, we want to remind you that the cities of Hoquiam and Aberdeen will host an open house at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen to discuss the TimberWorks Resiliency and Restoration Master Plan.

This is about what our community should do to reduce flood risk, while enhancing fish habitat and increasing recreation and open space opportunities. Your thoughts and ideas are needed!

This is the last opportunity for community members to provide feedback on the proposed projects before the Master Plan and implementation strategy are finalized.

If you are unable to attend the open house but would still like to learn about the proposed projects and provide feedback, please visit:

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County.

Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.