Furnace Safety Tips for Winter

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 confident your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can pose a danger if not used and maintained correctly. Explore some essential heating system safety tips to ensure a cozy and stress-free winter.

Understanding the Risks

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

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

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a good backup plan. But, using them incorrectly can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances 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 Even though engineered to function safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

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

Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of modern heating appliances. When operated beyond its capacity, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

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

General Guidelines

Observe these safety guidelines in the winter and through the year to keep your home and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you smell a mysterious 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.

Combustible 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 kids about the dangers of matches, candles and heating equipment. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” close to open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

Electrical safety: Do not run heating equipment using 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 extinguish them before exiting the room or going to sleep.

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

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

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

Professional HVAC service: Because a bad 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 many years, knowing your equipment is running the way it should.

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

Space heaters: Don’t allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re sleeping. Position 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 prevent sparks from escaping and igniting nearby objects. Put out the flames before leaving home or nodding off to sleep. Once it has entirely cooled, put the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your house.

Partner with 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 protection. 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 happy with our work, you can count on us to make it right. In addition to our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is deeply involved in the local communities we serve and remain committed to innovation and customer engagement. For assistance staying warm this winter, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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