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 warm. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can pose a danger if not used and maintained properly. Explore some vital heating system safety guidelines to ensure a cozy and stress-free winter.

Knowing the Risks

Because homes rely heavily on heating systems when it’s cold, home fires and heating-related accidents spike this time of year. A few typical risks include:

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

Generators: Relying on a generator during a power outage is a helpful backup plan. On the other hand, improper usage can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these devices 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 colder months. Even though designed to run safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

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

Old wiring: Older homes with obsolete electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of contemporary 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 firing up the oven to warm up your residence, or throwing wet socks over a space heater, can be dangerous.

General Safeguards

Observe these safety tips in the winter and through the year to keep your residence and family safe:

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

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

Children’s safety: Teach your youngest family members about the dangers of matches, candles and heating devices. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electrical safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. Additionally, 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 supervise lit candles and blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

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

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

Here are the top heating system safety tricks to follow this winter:

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

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can expose hidden issues that might not be apparent to the untrained eye. These appointments can find worn-out parts, ventilation malfunctions and potential gas leaks. Regular maintenance also ensures maximum efficiency and lengthens 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: Put a metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from escaping and igniting nearby objects. Put out the flames before leaving your dwelling or nodding off to sleep. Once it has totally cooled, put 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 protect your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians provide 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. 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 heating service in your neighborhood, call 866-397-3787 today to arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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