Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater on full blast to keep your home comfortable. Are you confident your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained properly. Discover some important heating system safety recommendations to ensure a warm and safe winter.

Understanding the Risks

Because families rely heavily on heating systems during colder months, home fires and heating-related accidents are more common this time of year. A few typical risks include:

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

Generators: Using a generator during a blackout is a helpful backup plan. On the other hand, incorrect use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Make sure these appliances are set up outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces play a crucial role in causing home fires during the winter. Even though crafted to operate safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Not enough ventilation: Insufficient ventilation can cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with antiquated electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of today’s heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

Wrong use of heating appliances: 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 Precautions

Follow these safety guidelines in the winter and throughout the year to keep your residence and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you detect an inexplicable rotten egg smell, it could be a gas leak. For your well-being, act immediately—open windows and doors to ventilate the area, evacuate the area and contact your local gas company and fire department.

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

Children’s safety: Teach your kids about the hazards of matches, candles and heating devices. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to prevent accidents. 

Electrical safety: Do not run heating equipment using extension cords or power strips. Additionally, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These strategies help avoid electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Thoroughly supervise lit candles and extinguish them before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide sensors: Install these products throughout your home, especially right outside sleeping areas and test them every 30 days.

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

Here are the top heating system safety guidelines to take into account this winter:

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

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

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to function unattended or while you’re asleep. Put these items on a stable, non-flammable surface and keep anything that could catch fire away from the front, back and sides of the equipment.

Fireplaces: Put a metal screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from escaping and igniting nearby materials. Put out the flames before leaving the residence or nodding off to sleep. Once it has completely cooled, put the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your house.

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

As the winter season intensifies, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and security. Our ACE-certified technicians supply fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with our service, you can count on us to make it right. Beyond our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is deeply involved in the local communities we serve and remain devoted to innovation and customer engagement. For assistance staying warm this winter, call 866-397-3787 today to set up an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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