Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater on full blast to keep your home cozy. Are you confident your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating devices are safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained correctly. Explore some vital heating system safety tips to ensure a warm and stress-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

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

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

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a beneficial backup plan. On the other hand, improper usage can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Make sure these machines are positioned 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. While engineered to operate safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

Lack of ventilation: Improper 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 face challenges when trying to meet the demands of today’s heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

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

General Guidelines

Follow these safety guidelines in the winter and through the year to keep your residence and family safe:

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

Burnable items: Always put anything that can burn a minimum of 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Educate your children about the hazards of matches, candles and heating products. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” close to open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of 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 strategies help stop electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Thoroughly watch lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

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

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are the top heating system safety guidelines to take into account this winter:

Professional installation: 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 a long time, knowing your equipment is running the way it is supposed to.

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

Space heaters: Do not allow space heaters to function unattended or while you’re asleep. 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 unit.

Fireplaces: Put a metal screen in front of the fireplace to keep sparks from getting out and igniting nearby materials. Put out the flames before leaving home or going to bed. Once it has completely cooled, put the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your residence.

Call 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 maintain your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians offer fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our work, 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 devoted 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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