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 comfortable. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained correctly. Explore some vital heating system safety tips to ensure a warm and worry-free winter.

Understanding the Risks

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

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

Generators: Using a generator during a blackout is a good backup plan. However, incorrect use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure these devices 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. Although engineered to operate safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or improperly used.

Lack of 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 today’s heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the likelihood of electrical fires.

Incorrect 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 dangerous.

General Safeguards

Follow these safety guidelines in the winter and throughout the year to keep your residence and family safe:

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

Flammable items: Always put anything that can burn a minimum of 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Instruct your kids about the dangers of matches, candles and heating products. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electrical safety: Do not run heating equipment using extension cords or power strips. In addition, 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: Thoroughly supervise lit candles and extinguish them before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Install these devices throughout your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them every month.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are several heating system safety guidelines to follow this winter:

Professional installation: 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 appreciate peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is operating the way it ought to.

Regular maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by qualified professionals can discover hidden concerns that might not be visible to the untrained eye. These visits can identify worn-out parts, ventilation issues and potential gas leaks. Regular 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 asleep. 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 flying out and igniting nearby materials. Snuff out the flames before leaving your dwelling or nodding off to sleep. Once it has completely cooled, collect 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 cold weather gets worse, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to protect your comfort and protection. Our ACE-certified technicians offer fast, long-lasting answers 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. In addition to our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is very 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 set up an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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