Furnace Safety Tips for Winter

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater on full blast to keep your home comfortable. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating devices are safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained properly. Explore some essential heating system safety tips to ensure a comfortable and worry-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

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

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter festivities 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 left near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a good backup plan. But, 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 winter. While engineered to operate safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

Poor ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with antiquated electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of modern heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

Improper use of heating appliances: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like turning on the oven to provide warmth, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be risky.

General Safeguards

Follow these safety recommendations in the winter and through the year to keep your household and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you detect a mysterious rotten egg smell, it could be a gas leak. For your safety, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and call your local gas company and fire department.

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

Children’s safety: Instruct your youngest family members 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: Avoid plugging heating appliances into extension cords or power strips. In addition, 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: Carefully monitor lit candles and blow them out before exiting the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide sensors: Use these products throughout your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them monthly.

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

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

Professional HVAC service: 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 enjoy peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is working the way it should.

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

Space heaters: You shouldn’t ever allow space heaters to function 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 getting out and igniting nearby objects. Put out the flames before leaving the residence or sleeping. Once it has entirely cooled, put the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your premises.

Partner with 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 protection. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver fast, long-lasting remedies for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with our service, you can depend 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 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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