Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., forcing you to run the heater on full blast to keep your home cozy. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained appropriately. Check out some important heating system safety recommendations to ensure a comfortable and worry-free winter.

Understanding the Risks

Because homes rely heavily on heating systems during colder months, home fires and heating-related accidents increase this time of year. Several frequent risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter events typically include decorative lights and candles. While these items make the long winter nights more cozy, they can become fire hazards if left unattended or placed near flammable materials.

Generators: Relying on a generator during an electricity outage is a helpful backup plan. However, incorrect use can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these machines are located outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces are among the many threats of home fires during the winter. While engineered to run safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or improperly used.

Poor ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

Wrong use of heating equipment: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like turning on the oven to heat your home, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be hazardous.

General Guidelines

Observe these safety recommendations in the winter and through the year to keep your household and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you smell a mysterious rotten egg smell, it might be a gas leak. For your protection, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and contact your local gas company and fire department.

Burnable items: Make sure to place anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Educate your children about the risks of matches, candles and heating equipment. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

Electric safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. In addition, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These guidelines help avoid electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Diligently monitor lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide sensors: Keep these items in your home, especially right outside sleeping areas and test them every month.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are some helpful heating system safety tricks to remember this winter:

Professional HVAC service: Because a faulty setup can increase the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and electrical shock, you should always leave furnace installation to a trained service pro. You’ll enjoy peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is operating the way it should.

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by qualified professionals can discover hidden issues that might not be recognizable to the untrained eye. These visits can identify worn-out parts, ventilation malfunctions and potential gas leaks. Regular maintenance also ensures maximum efficiency and extends your system’s life span.

Space heaters: You shouldn’t ever allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re sleeping. Put these units on a stable, non-flammable surface and keep anything that could catch fire away from the front, back and sides of the unit.

Fireplaces: Install a metal screen in front of the fireplace to keep sparks from escaping and igniting nearby items. Snuff out the flames before leaving home or nodding off to sleep. Once it has completely cooled, collect the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your premises.

Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for Heating Service in the U.S.

As the winter months intensify, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to maintain your comfort and protection. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver fast, long-lasting solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our service, you can depend on us to make it right. In addition to our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is very involved in the local communities we serve and remain committed to innovation and customer engagement. For help ensuring a worry-free winter, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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