Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., forcing you to run the heater on full blast to keep your home warm. Are you sure 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 appropriately. Explore some vital heating system safety guidelines to ensure a warm and safe winter.

Knowing the Risks

Because households rely heavily on heating systems when it’s cold, home fires and heating-related accidents are more common this time of year. Some frequent risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter events 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 placed near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a good backup plan. On the other hand, incorrect use can result in 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 contribute significantly to home fires during the colder months. Even though designed to operate safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or improperly used.

Poor ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can result in 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 today’s heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

Wrong use of heating devices: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like firing up the oven to heat your home, or throwing wet socks over a space heater, can be dangerous.

General Precautions

Use these safety guidelines in the winter and through 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 safety, act immediately—open windows and doors to air things out, evacuate the area and call your local gas company and fire department.

Combustible items: Always put 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 children about the dangers of matches, candles and heating products. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to prevent accidents. 

Electrical safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. Also, 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 make sure they are extinguished before exiting the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Keep these devices inside your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them monthly.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are some helpful heating system safety tips to consider this winter:

Professional setup: Because a faulty setup can increase the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and electrical shock, you should always leave furnace installation to an expert. You’ll get peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is operating the way it is supposed to.

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

Space heaters: Don’t allow space heaters to operate unattended or while you’re in bed. Position 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: Install a metal screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from flying out and igniting nearby items. Put out the flames before leaving home or sleeping. Once it has completely cooled, gather 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 cold weather gets worse, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to protect your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not thrilled with our performance, you can rely on us to make it right. In addition to our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is significantly 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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