3 Items To Keep Far Away From Heater Registers

Posted on: 19 December 2014

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Your furnace sends hot air through the ducts to warm up each room individually. The channel of hot air flows into the room through a heat register, or vent, on the floor or the ceiling. If the register is blocked, your heating system cannot run efficiently, often resulting in damage to the furnace components, including the blower motor and pump. Hot air flowing out of your heater vents can even damage the items sitting too close to the registers. Materials covering the vents can also drop down into the ducts or heat up and cause a fire to break out. Here are three items to always keep far away from your heat registers.

Toys

If you have kids in the house, you know how quickly toys end up covering the ground well beyond the play area. Kids do not usually pay close attention to where the toys land either, which could cause big problems if the items end up covering the heat registers.

Plush toys and dress up clothes sitting on top of the heat registers will completely block air flowing out of the furnace. If this happens, the room will feel much colder than the rest of the house. If the toys heat up too much, their synthetic fibers could start to melt, causing an odd smell to waft through your living space. Toys with small parts can easily drop through the flaps on the vents and enter the ducts. The toys can accumulate near the back of the register and block the flow of heat at that point.  

Furniture

Vents blocked by furniture could start a fire or damage your furnace components. It is easy to underestimate the amount of space needed to keep your furniture from blocking the ducts. After all, the air doesn't always flow straight out of the ducts and rise to the ceiling. Depending on the type of deflector on the register, hot air could flow toward furniture sitting nearby.

Furthermore, people using furniture often tend to move the items around a little bit at a time. Before you know it, your couch, chair or ottoman could directly block the registers, especially if they are located on the floor. Consider placing small tape marks on the floor to show where the furniture legs should sit to avoid blocking airflow.

Electronics

You must pay close attention to the location of electronic components and wires running throughout your home. Placing electronics too close to heater vents could accelerate mechanical failure rates. Electronics are rated for certain temperature ranges, depending their internal component materials.

Exceeding this range will often cause the parts to fail outright. Furthermore, plastic devices and wires, especially old components, can melt while sitting in constant waves of heat coming from the furnace. To protect your electronics, situate them far away from the air blowing out of the registers. In addition, make sure the vents on your electronic devices remain clear of obstructions at all times.

Staying Safe

If you suspect there's a problem with your heater efficiency, it's wise to have the system checked out by a professional. You may need to have the rooms in your home temperature tested to make sure the furnace is warming up each area appropriately. You may also need to have your furnace components tested to check for faults that may lead to part failure down the line. 

Furthermore, you need to have your ducts cleaned out on occasion to improve your air quality and heating efficiency. This is especially important if you suspect toys or other small objects have fallen into the registers and are now blocking airflow into certain rooms. You can talk to your heating professional to set up regular heating service appointments anytime you suspect issues with your furnace and ducts.