A Grinch's Guide To A Christmas Heist That Won't Destroy The Heating System

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A Grinch's Guide To A Christmas Heist That Won't Destroy The Heating System

19 December 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


If you're planning on systematically removing gifts, decorations, and other holiday hoopla from unsuspecting Who houses this year, you need to be sure that you don't, in the process, damage their heating systems. After all, even if your heart is two sizes too small, you do not want to destroy Christmas and leave innocent people with high heating bills and damages that could cost them a lot of money to fix. (Maybe save that goal for next year, if your heart shrinks a little more.) Here is a guide to completing the ultimate Christmas heist without HVAC casualties. 

1. Don't Stuff The Tree (Or Presents) Up

If the home is heated with a wood or gas burning fireplace, you will not be able to stuff the presents or stockings up the chimney in your attempt to remove them, as the residual heat from the embers could light them on fire. In fact, you should not even try to burn Christmas paper or present wrappings in an indoor fireplace at all, even if the homeowner has left the fire burning. Fireplaces that rely on real fuel are rated for that particular fuel alone-- burning paper and other Christmas leavings can actually put the house in danger of roof fires, especially if the chimney has not been cleaned in a while. Paper has lower moisture content than logs and burns much more quickly than portion-controlled gas or propane, leaving lightweight, hot embers to travel up the chimney, lighting creosote or wooden shingles on fire. 

Some fireplaces are connected to the HVAC system to distribute the heat. This makes burning paper even more dangerous, as the feather-light, tiny embers can potentially enter the duct work, and if it is not is not properly cleaned, can melt or light dusty residue.

The same applies for the tree. Festive trees should never enter the fireplace-- at least not until they have been stripped of their dry needles and broken down into regular firewood. Burning old pine needles and small, dry branches will result in a hot, quick fire with a tall flame that can easily travel up the oxygen-rich chimney and light the roof on fire. No Grinch wants to be responsible for such destruction.

2. Close the front door behind you.

When removing the stockings and presents from the offending homes, be sure to close the door after every trip outside. It'll be a pain, but leaving the outside door open to invite the cold air into the house will tax the heating system. The air intake will be burdened with colder air, and the warm air in the home will quickly leave, as indicated by the laws of thermodynamics. Taxing the furnace with the increased load will lead to a high heating bill, but it will also cause the furnace to give out much sooner than necessary. 

The cold drafts will also alert the Whos to your presence, which is not what you want to have happen.

3. Leave the inside doors open.

An effective heist means taking the gifts and decor from every room, not just the main room. While you might be in the habit of closing doors behind you (you don't want the members of the house to hear you hauling the tree out the door), it's best to leave them open and just be as quiet as possible. Closing doors cause an imbalance for forced-air systems that are heated with a furnace. The air in the room is not allowed to flow freely into the rest of the house, and air still enters the room through vents. The room becomes pressurized, and the warm air looks for ways to escape-- primarily out the small spaces in the windows or under the door. The air is lost from the system, and so the rest of the house compensates by drawing in more cold air to heat and replace it. The furnace has to work that much harder and the Whos will be left paying for high utility bills on top of losing all their presents because of your Grinchly-ness. 

For more tips on how to conduct your business in the sneakiest, safest way possible, contact a local heating repair Who.