Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., forcing you to run the heater on full blast to keep your home warm. Are you sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating devices are safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained properly. Check out some essential heating system safety guidelines to ensure a warm and stress-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

Because households rely heavily on heating systems during colder months, home fires and heating-related accidents increase this time of year. Several typical 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 fire threats if left unattended or placed near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a beneficial backup plan. On the other hand, incorrect use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure these machines 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 winter. While designed to operate safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or improperly used.

Lack of ventilation: Improper ventilation can cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with antiquated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of today’s heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

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

General Guidelines

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

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

Combustible 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: Educate your kids about the dangers of matches, candles and heating equipment. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” close to open flames and heaters to avoid 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 stop electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Diligently watch lit candles and extinguish them before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

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

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are some helpful heating system safety guidelines to remember 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 an expert. You’ll appreciate peace of mind for many years, knowing your equipment is working the way it should.

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

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to operate unattended or while you’re asleep. 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 heater.

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

Choose 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 safety. Our ACE-certified technicians supply fast, long-lasting remedies for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our service, you can depend on us to make it right. Beyond our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is significantly 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 set up an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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