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 sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can pose a danger if not used and maintained appropriately. Discover some important heating system safety recommendations to ensure a cozy and safe winter.

Identifying the Risks

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

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter events typically 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: Relying on a generator during a power outage is a good backup plan. But, using them incorrectly can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Make sure 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 colder months. Although designed to function safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.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 struggle with the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When overloaded, 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 warm up your residence, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be risky.

General Safety Measures

Observe these safety tips in the winter and throughout the year to keep your home and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you notice a mysterious rotten egg smell, it might be a gas leak. For your well-being, 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.

Combustible items: Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Instruct your children about the hazards of matches, candles and heating products. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

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

Candle safety: Carefully watch lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before leaving the room or going to sleep.

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

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

Here are several heating system safety tricks to remember this winter:

Professional setup: Because a bad 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 get peace of mind for many years, knowing your equipment is running the way it ought to.

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

Space heaters: Do not allow space heaters to operate unattended or while you’re sleeping. Place these items 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 flying out and igniting nearby objects. Blow out the flames before leaving home or going to bed. Once it has totally cooled, collect 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 winter months intensify, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to protect your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians supply fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with our performance, you can depend 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 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.