Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at its highest setting to keep your home comfortable. Are you confident your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained appropriately. Discover some essential heating system safety recommendations to ensure a cozy and safe 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 celebrations typically include decorative lights and candles. Even though these items make the long winter nights more inviting, they can become fire hazards if left unattended or placed near flammable materials.

Generators: Using a generator during an electricity outage is a good backup plan. On the other hand, incorrect use can cause 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 contribute significantly to home fires during the winter. Although engineered to operate safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

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

Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

Improper use of heating devices: 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 Safeguards

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

Gas leaks: If you detect 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 get in touch with your local gas company and fire department.

Burnable 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: Teach your kids about the hazards of matches, candles and heating equipment. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electric 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 tips help prevent electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

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

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

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

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

Professional installation: Because a faulty setup can increase the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and electrical shock, you should always leave furnace installation to a professional. You’ll enjoy peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is running the way it ought to.

Routine maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can discover hidden concerns that might not be recognizable to the untrained eye. These inspections can detect worn-out parts, ventilation issues and potential gas leaks. Routine maintenance also ensures maximum efficiency and helps lengthen your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to function unattended or while you’re in bed. 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 equipment.

Fireplaces: Place a metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from escaping and igniting nearby items. Snuff out the flames before leaving your dwelling or nodding off to sleep. Once it has completely cooled, put 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 solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our work, you can count 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 committed to innovation and customer engagement. For heating service in your neighborhood, call 866-397-3787 today to arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.