Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., leaving you no choice but to run the heater at maximum power to keep your home comfortable. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating devices are safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can pose a danger if not used and maintained correctly. Explore some important heating system safety tips to ensure a comfortable and worry-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

Because families rely heavily on heating systems when it’s cold, home fires and heating-related accidents spike this time of year. Several frequent risks include:

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

Generators: Relying on a generator during a blackout is a beneficial backup plan. But, improper usage can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances are positioned outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces contribute significantly to home fires during the colder months. Although engineered to function safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.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 struggle with the demands of modern heating appliances. When operated beyond its capacity, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

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

General Guidelines

Follow these safety tips in the winter and during the year to keep your home and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you smell an inexplicable rotten egg smell, it may be a gas leak. For your protection, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and get in touch with your local gas company and fire department.

Flammable items: Keep anything that can burn no less than 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Instruct your children about the risks of matches, candles and heating devices. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

Energy 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 strategies help stop electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Carefully monitor lit candles and blow them out before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms: Install these products throughout your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them every month.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are some helpful heating system safety tips to follow 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 professional. You’ll get peace of mind for many years, knowing your equipment is working the way it is supposed to.

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

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re asleep. Place these devices 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 prevent sparks from getting out and igniting nearby items. Extinguish the flames before leaving your dwelling or sleeping. Once it has totally cooled, put the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your house.

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

As the cold weather gets worse, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and protection. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not thrilled with our service, you can count on us to make it right. Along with our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is significantly involved in the local communities we serve and remain dedicated 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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