Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at maximum power to keep your home cozy. Are you sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can pose a danger if not used and maintained appropriately. Discover some essential heating system safety recommendations to ensure a warm and stress-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

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

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

Generators: Operating a generator during an electricity outage is a good backup plan. But, incorrect use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances are located 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. Although crafted to run safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

Not enough ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can result in 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Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of today’s heating appliances. When operated beyond its capacity, the wiring may overheat, increasing the likelihood of electrical fires.

Incorrect use of heating equipment: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like turning on the oven to warm up your residence, or placing wet socks over a space heater, can be risky.

General Precautions

Use these safety guidelines in the winter and during the year to keep your household and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you detect an inexplicable rotten egg smell, it might be a gas leak. For your well-being, act immediately—open windows and doors to air things out, 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 equipment. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” close to open flames and heaters to prevent accidents. 

Electric safety: Avoid plugging heating appliances into extension cords or power strips. In addition, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These strategies help prevent electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

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

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Use these accessories inside your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them every month.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are several heating system safety tricks to follow this winter:

Professional installation: Because a bad 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 many years, knowing your equipment is working the way it ought to.

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by qualified professionals can expose hidden concerns that might not be visible to the untrained eye. These inspections can find worn-out parts, ventilation issues and potential gas leaks. Scheduled maintenance also ensures peak efficiency and helps lengthen your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Do not 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 heater.

Fireplaces: Install a metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from escaping and igniting nearby objects. Extinguish the flames before leaving your dwelling 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 house.

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 protection. Our ACE-certified technicians offer fast, long-lasting remedies for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with our work, you can depend on us to make it right. Along with 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 assistance staying warm this winter, call 866-397-3787 today to arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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