Whether your mechanical system is found in the basement, attic, garage, or closet, the empty space around it may seem perfect for stashing items you wish to keep out of sight. Resist the temptation. Doubling a mechanical room as a storage area is a significant hazard which should be avoided. Here’s why:
- Clutter interferes with the efficient operation of your heating system. Heating system components need adequate air flow to work efficiently. That mess of buckets, paint cans, lumber, and debris blocks the efficient flow of air. Your heating system works harder. Overwork can shorten the life of your system, and make it more expensive to operate throughout the year.
- Off-gassing causes indoor air pollution. Cleaning products and other such chemicals emit fumes which can be hazardous to breathe. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is much greater than outdoor pollution. Poor indoor air quality leads to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments. Don’t store chemical products where your furnace will pick up the off-gasses and blow them into the air you breathe.
- Flammable items are dangerous.Items crowded around the heating unit may catch fire. Fires may smolder for long periods, before erupting into dangerous flames. Chemical fires may be extremely difficult to extinguish. Remember! Your mechanical system is powered by fuels and electricity. Cut down on the chance of fire by keeping flammable items away from the unit. Gasoline, paint, paint thinners, and other combustible chemicals should be kept away.
- Some chemicals can corrode furnace parts.Cat litter contains ammonia, the fumes of which may corrode your furnace’s heat exchanger. Laundry detergent, bleach, and other cleaning chemicals should be kept away from the heating unit, too.
- Don’t hang laundry near the furnace or water heater. Clothing could catch fire, or impede the free flow of air to the unit.
- Regularly clean the mechanical room. Dust and sweep. Throw away used furnace filters. Regular cleaning is especially important if the clothes dryer, with its regular discharge of lint, is located in the same area.
- Clutter makes maintenance checks and emergency repair more difficult. Your service technician appreciates quick, direct access to the work space.
Keep your mechanical room neat, tidy, and free of clutter.