Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at its highest setting to keep your home comfortable. Are you confident your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating devices are safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained appropriately. Discover some important heating system safety recommendations to ensure a warm and worry-free winter.

Knowing the Risks

Because families rely heavily on heating systems in the winter, home fires and heating-related accidents increase this time of year. A few frequent risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter celebrations frequently include decorative lights and candles. Even though these items make the long winter nights more inviting, they can become fire hazards if left unattended or set near flammable materials.

Generators: Using a generator during a power outage is a beneficial backup plan. However, improper usage can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure these devices are positioned 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. Even though crafted to run safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

Poor ventilation: Improper 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 operated beyond its capacity, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

Incorrect use of heating appliances: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like running the oven to heat your home, or throwing wet socks over a space heater, can be hazardous.

General Safety Measures

Use these safety recommendations in the winter and throughout the year to keep your residence and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you notice an inexplicable rotten egg smell, it may be a gas leak. For your safety, act immediately—open windows and doors to ventilate the area, evacuate the area and call your local gas company and fire department.

Flammable items: Make sure to place anything that can burn a minimum of 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Instruct your children about the dangers of matches, candles and heating products. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to prevent accidents. 

Energy safety: Do not run heating equipment using 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: Carefully monitor lit candles and blow them out before exiting the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Use these products inside your home, especially right outside sleeping areas and test them every 30 days.

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

Here are several heating system safety guidelines to keep in mind 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 appreciate peace of mind for years, knowing your equipment is working the way it should.

Routine maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by trained professionals can discover hidden concerns that might not be recognizable to the untrained eye. These appointments can detect worn-out parts, ventilation issues and potential gas leaks. Routine maintenance also ensures optimum efficiency and lengthens your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Don’t allow space heaters to function unattended or while you’re sleeping. Put these devices 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 getting out and igniting nearby items. 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 residence.

Partner with 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 protect your comfort and safety. 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 happy with our service, you can rely on us to make it right. Beyond our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is significantly involved in the local communities we serve and remain devoted to innovation and customer engagement. For heating service in your neighborhood, call 866-397-3787 today to set up an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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