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 warm. Are you sure 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. Discover some essential heating system safety recommendations to ensure a cozy and stress-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

Because families rely heavily on heating systems when it’s cold, home fires and heating-related accidents spike this time of year. Several typical risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter festivities often include decorative lights and candles. While these items make the long winter nights more cheerful, they can become safety risks if left unattended or set near flammable materials.

Generators: Using a generator during a power outage is a beneficial backup plan. On the other hand, using them incorrectly can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances are positioned outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces play a crucial role in causing home fires during the colder months. While designed to run safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

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

Old wiring: Older homes with obsolete electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of modern heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

Improper use of heating equipment: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like running the oven to provide warmth, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be hazardous.

General Safeguards

Use these safety guidelines in the winter and through the year to keep your residence and family safe:

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

Burnable 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 children about the hazards of matches, candles and heating equipment. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” close to open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Energy safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. Also, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These guidelines help stop 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: Install these accessories in your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them every 30 days.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are the top heating system safety guidelines 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 an expert. You’ll get peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is operating the way it ought to.

Routine maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by trained professionals can expose hidden concerns that might not be recognizable to the untrained eye. These appointments can detect worn-out parts, ventilation issues and potential gas leaks. Scheduled maintenance also ensures peak efficiency and lengthens your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to operate unattended or while you’re asleep. Put 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 escaping and igniting nearby materials. Extinguish the flames before leaving the residence or nodding off to sleep. Once it has entirely cooled, gather the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your premises.

Call 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 maintain your comfort and protection. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver 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 very involved in the local communities we serve and remain dedicated to innovation and customer engagement. For assistance staying warm this winter, call 866-397-3787 today to arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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