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 sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained appropriately. Discover some important heating system safety recommendations to ensure a comfortable and safe winter.

Knowing the Risks

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

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter celebrations frequently include decorative lights and candles. Although these items make the long winter nights more inviting, they can become fire hazards if left unattended or placed near flammable materials.

Generators: Relying on a generator during an electricity outage is a beneficial backup plan. On the other hand, incorrect use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these machines are located outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces contribute significantly to home fires during the winter season. Even though engineered to run safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Not enough ventilation: Insufficient ventilation can result in dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with antiquated electrical systems may face challenges when trying to meet the demands of modern heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

Wrong use of heating equipment: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like turning on the oven to warm up your residence, or placing wet socks over a space heater, can be hazardous.

General Precautions

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

Gas leaks: If you notice a strange rotten egg smell, it may be a gas leak. For your protection, act immediately—open windows and doors to ventilate the area, evacuate the area and call your local gas company and fire department.

Combustible items: Always put anything that can burn no less than 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Educate your children about the risks of matches, candles and heating products. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

Electrical safety: Avoid plugging heating appliances into extension cords or power strips. Additionally, 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 supervise lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before exiting the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide sensors: Keep these items throughout your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them every 30 days.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are the top heating system safety guidelines to keep in mind this winter:

Professional setup: Because a faulty 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 a long time, knowing your equipment is operating the way it is supposed to.

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by qualified professionals can expose hidden problems that might not be recognizable 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: You shouldn’t ever allow space heaters to operate 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 unit.

Fireplaces: Put a metal screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from flying out and igniting nearby materials. Snuff out the flames before leaving your dwelling or going to bed. Once it has entirely cooled, gather the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your premises.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for Heating Service in the U.S.

As the winter season intensifies, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, long-lasting solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with our service, you can depend on us to make it right. Along with our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is very involved in the local communities we serve and remain dedicated to innovation and customer engagement. For help ensuring a worry-free winter, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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