We have two wonderful sons who have always been very curious boys. They’ve always loved playing hide and seek, as well as looking for hidden objects. It’s always been a challenge to find hiding places for their birthday and Christmas presents. When they were toddlers, we could place them on the highest shelves of closets and cupboards. But as they got older, we had to find other locations. They easily found our hiding spots under beds and in dresser drawers. So we turned to hiding presents in mislabeled boxes in the garage, under a pile of dirty laundry, inside suitcases, and finally – in a neighbor’s garage. Each of these locations was somewhat successful – until they caught on to them! But we learned that presents should never be hid around the furnace, thanks to our HVAC technician who had come to service the furnace one day. He told us several reasons why this is never a good idea. For one thing, there shouldn’t be clutter around the furnace, as HVAC systems require clearances and ventilation for efficient heating and cooling. Blocking the airflow shortens equipment life, and it’s recommended that there be at least two feet of space around the heating and cooling unit. Also, presents that are placed near a furnace are actually a fire hazard. Naturally there is a certain amount of heat emitted from the furnace, and most wrapping paper is highly flammable. And with a gas-ignited furnace such as we have, there is actually a spark and flame that ignites the pilot light or burners, increasing the risk of a fire catching on the wrapping paper. Now that our sons are older, we no longer need to hide their presents because all that they want are gift certificates!