Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at its highest setting to keep your home warm. 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. Discover some important heating system safety tips to ensure a cozy and worry-free winter.

Understanding the Risks

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

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

Generators: Using a generator during a blackout is a helpful backup plan. On the other hand, improper usage can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these devices are positioned outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces are among the many threats of home fires during the winter. While designed to function safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or improperly used.

Not enough ventilation: Insufficient 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 overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the likelihood of electrical fires.

Improper use of heating appliances: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like turning on the oven to heat your home, or placing wet socks over a space heater, can be hazardous.

General Safeguards

Follow these safety tips in the winter and throughout 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 get in touch with 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: Teach your youngest family members about the risks of matches, candles and heating devices. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electric 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 stop electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

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

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms: Install these devices in your home, especially right next to sleeping areas and test them every 30 days.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are some helpful heating system safety tips to take into account this winter:

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

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

Space heaters: Don’t allow space heaters to operate unattended or while you’re sleeping. Place these units on a stable, non-flammable surface and keep anything that could catch fire away from the front, back and sides of the heater.

Fireplaces: Place a metal screen in front of the fireplace to keep sparks from flying out and igniting nearby objects. Snuff out the flames before leaving your dwelling or going to bed. Once it has completely cooled, collect the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your residence.

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 maintain your comfort and security. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver fast, long-lasting solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our service, you can depend on us to make it right. Beyond our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is deeply 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 set up an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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