Now that the kids are home for summer, you should review your home safety procedures. Assess the ages and levels of maturity of your children and take a realistic look at what hazards the kids are likely to be exposed to when the adults aren’t looking. In general, we tend to think first about fire and chemical hazards, but there many other areas of concern in our homes — and one of them is HVAC safety.
You may think that because most HVAC parts are out of sight, the kids are unlikely either to encounter hazards from the unit, or to cause damage. But rest assured, both can happen. Here are some situations to be on top of.
Loose Vent Covers
This is of concern particularly to parents of small children. Sometimes vent covers come loose; they should be screwed in place so that children cannot put things into the vents. It’s a good idea to put screen covers over the vents so they can’t put small objects in them.
Block Access to HVAC Equipment
Whether your HVAC equipment is located in a ground-floor cabinet, upstairs or in the basement, you should find a way to block access to it. Children can cut themselves on sharp edges, burn themselves on hot parts or otherwise encounter electrical wires, refrigerant or other hazards. What’s more, they can do a lot of damage to evaporator coils and other parts by throwing things into the system, or pulling on wires or connections.
The outdoor condenser unit may have sharp edges on the metal casing, so protect kids by erecting a protective cage around it. This might also prevent children from tampering with condenser fins or dropping pebbles or toys into the unit — which could damage the fan and cost you in repair bills.
Move the Thermostat
If your children are inclined to climb, you probably should put a locked box or other type of protective barrier around the thermostat so that kids can’t mess with controls.
For more on HVAC safety and kids, contact Detmer and Sons, serving Springfield and Dayton since 1978.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).