Furnace Safety Tips for Winter

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at maximum power to keep your home warm. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained correctly. Check out some essential heating system safety guidelines to ensure a warm and safe winter.

Understanding the Risks

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

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter festivities typically include decorative lights and candles. Even though these items make the long winter nights more cheerful, 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 lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Make sure these machines are set up 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 Even though crafted to run safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Poor ventilation: Improper 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 face challenges when trying to meet the demands of contemporary 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 running the oven to provide warmth, or placing wet socks over a space heater, can be risky.

General Safety Measures

Use these safety guidelines in the winter and during the year to keep your household and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you notice a mysterious rotten egg smell, it may be a gas leak. For your well-being, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and get in touch with your local gas company and fire department.

Flammable items: Always put anything that can burn at least 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 devices. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

Electric safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. Additionally, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These tips help avoid electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Thoroughly watch lit candles and blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide sensors: Keep these items in your home, especially right outside sleeping areas and test them every month.

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

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

Professional HVAC service: 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 appreciate peace of mind for years, knowing your equipment is working the way it should.

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

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re in bed. Position these items 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 keep sparks from escaping and igniting nearby objects. Put out the flames before leaving your dwelling or sleeping. Once it has entirely cooled, put the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your residence.

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 security. Our ACE-certified technicians offer fast, long-lasting solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our performance, you can rely on us to make it right. Beyond our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is very involved in the local communities we serve and remain devoted to innovation and customer engagement. For heating service in your neighborhood, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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