HVAC Safety Tips You Need to Know

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., leaving you no choice but to run the heater at maximum power to keep your home cozy. Are you certain 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 correctly. Explore some essential heating system safety guidelines to ensure a comfortable and safe winter.

Understanding the Risks

Because households 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 festivities frequently include decorative lights and candles. While these items make the long winter nights more cheerful, they can become fire threats if left unattended or left near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a beneficial backup plan. But, improper usage can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances 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 Although crafted to function safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Poor ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of today’s heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the likelihood of electrical fires.

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

General Guidelines

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

Gas leaks: If you smell a mysterious rotten egg smell, it could be a gas leak. For your protection, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and contact your local gas company and fire department.

Combustible 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: Educate your children about the dangers of matches, candles and heating products. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electrical safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. In addition, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These strategies help avoid electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Carefully watch lit candles and blow them out before exiting the room or going to sleep.

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

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

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

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

Routine maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can expose hidden issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye. These inspections can identify worn-out parts, ventilation malfunctions 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. Place 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 keep sparks from escaping and igniting nearby objects. Put out the flames before leaving home or nodding off to sleep. Once it has totally cooled, collect the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your residence.

Call 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 preserve your comfort and security. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver fast, long-lasting solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our performance, you can count on us to make it right. In addition to our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is deeply involved in the local communities we serve and remain devoted to innovation and customer engagement. For heating service in your neighborhood, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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