What I'm Seeing Now

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Furnace Safety Switch

There is a key word in this phrase:  Furnace Safety Switch.

AND THAT WORD IS "SAFETY" !

It is not a good practice, or a best practice, to fool with the furnace safety switch!

So, when I took the cover off this furnace and saw what the homeowners had done with the safety switch, I was concerned.

Do you see the device to the left of the star?  This is the safety switch.

It was taped in the "on" position!

The safety switch is just that! 

A safety switch!

Don't mess with this switch!

 

I see this from time to time.  I have seen them taped like this, or even glued!  If it is always in the "on" position, the blower is always on!  This is a dangerous practice!  The safety switch is there for a reason - it is there for protection.

When the cover is removed from the front of the furnace, and the blower is spinning, it is a dangerous mechanism.  It is moving quickly, made up of sharp spines, and can literally cut off finger tips.

The purpose of the safety switch is to shut off the blower when the cover is removed.  If the switch is operating, when it springs open the blower will be shut off.  If the blower mechanism is not spinning, it is not dangerous.

My recommendation:  before you do a repair or change to some appliance in the house, make sure you understand all of the component parts.  You could be opening yourself up to danger!  A home inspection can reveal all kinds of things on a house, some informational and some safety related.  Pay close attention to everything that is safety related!

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 39 commentsJay Markanich • October 30 2014 02:25AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay....why do homeowner always fool with the most dangerous and important items in the house...always something with safety....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 4 years ago

Jay, why some people do the things they do is beyond explanation! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

Wow.  I didn't realize that this was a common home fix. Not really familiar with a furnace or other northern things down here so reading your posts are always interesting.

Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) over 4 years ago

Barbara - it is like moths to lights.  They just can't help themselves!

Wayne - see comment to Barbara!

Chris - paleeze!  I bet there are a lot of "northern things" you are familiar with!  FYI - there is a safety switch on your AC air handler too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Wow thats definitely a safety hazard. Hopefully people will stop doing things like this.

Posted by Jack O'Neal (Conway Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Sometimes you post things that make me scratch my head and other times I shake my head and wonder what people are thinking.  This is one of those times

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. Folks try their best to make mechanical devices idiot proof. This is proof that the gene pool keeps coming up with smarter idiots!

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 4 years ago

They most likely intended to get it fixed but forgot about it. 

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) over 4 years ago

I am of the opinion that the operation of any household system is above the paygrade of 95% of home owners. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

How about the local HVAC repair company that installs furnaces with zip ties holding the safety switch on? That's crazy and I called and asked them to cease and desist, unless they have a fondness for lawsuits. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 4 years ago

Why would someone do this? Trying to figure out the reasoning. It's not lke the switch will slip into off position by itself. Weird.

Posted by Richard Robibero, ABR, SRS, Selling Your Home as if it were My Own! (Panorama R.E. Limited) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

They probably put duct tape over the red lights on the dash as it means if you cannot see it there is nothing wrong!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Jack - that day will likely never arrive!

James - I do that every day!  Sometimes I giggle and others I weep uncontrollably.

Michael - that is one pool that gets murkier by the year.

Richard - I think they did what they intended to do!

Lenn - and the pay isn't very good.  Something like this is beyond my understanding.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Scott - zip ties are appropriate with a bit of ABC mint gum as a second security feature.

Richard - the switch works perfectly if it's installed right.  The cover in place holds the switch down.

Raymond - that's the way to go.   Duct tape is the go-to guy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, yikes!  Finger tips are important, especially if one is a flute player!  You'll find no tape on my safety switch.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Gum works well Pat.  And I have really seen them glued!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, I've noticed that the condition & the maintenance of a furnace  in many homes go along with general condtion of the home and yard. So, if things look neglected, the furnace is a likely concern. This is for sure, the health & condition of a furnace will effect the health of those living there.

Posted by Jim Holder, REALTOR EMERITUS, ABR,ePRO,CNC,SFR, (HomeSmart Connect) over 4 years ago

I agree Jim.  A house is a complex system of interacting parts.  One thing certainly leads to another.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay, congratulations on your feature.  Keep up the good work!

Posted by Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School, Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor (REcampus Fully Accredited Florida ONLINE & Classroom Training in Destin, Pensacola Florida) over 4 years ago

These little home repairs we all do for whatever reason need to be thought out. It reminds me of people who used to used their ovens to heat the home. Whoa

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago

So Jay, if the safety switch is taped in the on position, isn't it always safe?  

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 4 years ago

Thanks Wayne.  I'll be here most days!

Richie - mayhap not the most efficient way to heat.

Tom - let's see, when my 9mm safety is on the weapon can't be fired.  When this switch is on the furnace can!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I remember my service guy warning me about that switch and the blower. Do not mess with that stuff! 

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

The idiocy of people will never cease to amaze me. I really wonder what they are thinking sometimes.

Posted by Darrin Carey, Real Estate Buyer (Homes and More, Inc) over 4 years ago

We don't allow any of our tenants to do any kind of maintenance on the home, even if they claim they know exactly what they are doing.  You never know just how capable that person is, and what they say is the truth.  

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, I'm sure thats just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hack repairs made by home owners.

Posted by Michael McGovern (Key Advantage Realty) over 4 years ago

That does sound like a real potential safety issue. Why would anyone tape it like that?  Crazy. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 4 years ago

Jay thank you.  I love reading about these things that I would otherwise not be aware.  I'm finding time and again my knowledge found on AR is put to good use.  Grazie!

Posted by MICHELE WRIGHT, REALTOR- GRI-SRS-CBR (Better Homes and Gardens, Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

A sure sign that Uncle Bob has made his way through this house at some point... it just goes against common sense.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay - This is why it's important to have a professional do the work we're not familiar with.  It could save us from a big disaster down the road.

Posted by Scott Gleason, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist (RE/MAX Select) over 4 years ago

Jay, what would be the motivation to do something this dangerous?

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 4 years ago

Suzanne - he did because it's dangerous.  And I bet he didn't tape yours!

Darrin - if everyone did things right, I would not have a job!

Kevin - discretion is the better part of valor.

Michael - that is true on this house!  I think these buyers moved on to find another property.

Paula - perhaps they think it more convenient.  I see things I simply don't understand every day.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Learning is the reason I come to AR.  And I learn a lot.  And thanks, to both of you Michele.

AJ - this house was full of Uncle Bobs.  I think these clients moved on to find another place.

Scott - I see "professional" work on new construction that knock my socks off...

Cheryl - there must be something wrong with the switch, and instead of getting it fixed they did this.  Tape is cheap.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Safety, scmafety. The homeowner is obviously an adrenaline junkie looking for a little kick when changing his furnace filter. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

Keeps them fingers moving real fast Jim!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich now I wonder why someone should even think of doing that and bypass the basic safety rules and guidelines!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 4 years ago

Sometimes people do things that go beyond logic and common sense Praful. 

I no know why - no know I.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Have to be very careful with the furnace. I usually leave that type of stuff up to the man. Read everything carefully!

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Realtors (www.LiveWorkSiliconBeach.com, Santa Monica Real Estate :) ) over 4 years ago

I agree K&K.  But isn't rock n' roll about coming against and protesting the man?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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