Childproof Your Home From These 5 HVAC Hazards
Parents who want to keep their children safe at home often overlook their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
There are numerous ways children can get injured in connection with these complex systems, but the following five are some of the most common.
1. Improperly Secured HVAC Vents
Vents that are not properly secured can be a very real hazard to children of all ages. Sometimes the vent grates aren’t installed correctly. Toys can easily be dropped through them, and little hands can get caught in them or cut on them. Make sure vent covers are adequately secured. Repair any bent, broken, or missing vents.
2. Outdoor HVAC Units
Outdoor HVAC units are a danger to young ones. They’re full of sharp edges that can cut and scratch, wires full of high-powered electricity, and vents that can snag. Make sure outdoor units are either fenced off or surrounded by shrubs, and let children know not to play on or around HVAC units, especially during repair, installation, or service.
3. HVAC Unit That Needs Service or Repair
HVAC units in need of repair often pose the greatest risk to children. Some units might look old or battered. Some might have been damaged in an accident. There are often numerous signs that a unit is in need of repair or malfunctioning, ranging from strange rattling sounds or pools of standing water or a strange smell like gas. Any of these signs should be a wakeup call to get in touch with a professional for service immediately. If you see a unit like this, make sure to let everyone, especially children, know to stay away from them until the issues are repaired.
4. Poorly Installed Window Units
Improperly installed window units are a common cause of accidents in the home. If they’re not properly braced underneath, they can topple over if pulled from the outside. And if they’re not installed correctly with the right support, they can easily be pushed out from the inside by even little hands. It’s also imperative to determine whether a window unit is draining correctly. Otherwise, it could be causing serious structural damage to the building or create a potentially lethal situation with a pool of electrified standing water.
5. Failing to Keep Up With Routine Maintenance on HVAC Units
Make sure your HVAC unit is not leaking potentially lethal carbon monoxide gas — get your unit inspected by a licensed professional annually. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the most common HVAC safety concerns. More than 150 people a year die from non fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s easy to prevent — simply make sure that you have a working carbon monoxide unit in your home, and remember to test it as recommended by the manufacturer.
Most of the common HVAC hazards are quite preventable. Use common sense, and make sure everything looks, sounds, and smells right. Make sure that your HVAC unit receives preventative maintenance regularly by a trained professional. That will ensure that you won’t run into any nasty surprises.