Tenants need to ask themselves, "Does our apartment's management have a preventative maintenance procedure for our heating system?" There is no public place to locate this information but you can ask your landlord, "What is the service schedule for the heater in our apartment?"
Savvy apartment owners and managers have these units serviced because they understand that tenants need to be safe, they control expenses by having a program to monitor issueswith the heating and ac and they can plan for replacement when needed.
Just from a financial point of view, as the tenant, if your furnace is maintained regularly it runs more efficiently. This means that if you pay for the utilities in your unit, the energy expense would be lower for a maintained or new unit. Some landlords understand that if the utility bills are lower for the tenant, the tenant’s ability to pay rent goes up.
Smart apartment seekers have also added search criteria when looking at a new place to live that will reduce the expense of living there. New or maintained furnaces, air conditioning units, ovens and washer dryers have now been added to the same search list as safe location, landscaping maintenance, carpet condition and esthetics.
On the safety side, there are several conditions that anyone should be aware of with their heating system. Two large issues that a furnace can be responsible for include carbon monoxide (CO) and fire safety. The potential of both of these issues increase when the units are older.
Carbon monoxide tends to occur for a couple of reasons. Some include when the exhaust (like the flue) is blocked not allowing the furnace to vent properly, or the unit is experiencing metal fatigue, where leaks from the combustion part of the furnace literally seeps into the breathable air section of the ventilation system.
Picture: Combustion air including CO seeping into the breathable air of the heating system caused by age and metal fatgue.
If a furnace is leaking its exhaust into the air circulating in the home the unsuspecting residents can experience stomach aches, headaches, dizziness and yes, even death. The scary part is that the most dangerous elements in this exhaust are colorless and odorless. To help combat this problem the state of California is requiring that apartments and single family homes have carbon monoxide detectors. It is important to note that the authorities for these detectors state that these detectors need to be changed out every five (5) years.
Fire, the other danger is a more urgent problem and easier to identify. Every year there are residential fires and a good portion of these fires occur as a result of residemtial heating.
Make sure that your furnace is serviced regularly, older units especially need to be safety checked and that your residence has smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors. Since older units tend to cost more to operate, repair bills increase and safety issues occur more often, PG&E suggests considering replacement of furnaces at 15 years.
If you don't know the service schedule for your heater, ask your landlord or manager and before you rent ask what the schedule is.
If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.
408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM