Home Heating Safety: Tips for Cold Weather

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at maximum power to keep your home warm. Are you confident your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can pose a danger if not used and maintained correctly. Check out some vital heating system safety recommendations to ensure a cozy and safe winter.

Identifying the Risks

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

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter events often 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 blackout is a good backup plan. But, incorrect use can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these machines are located outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces contribute significantly to home fires during the winter. Even though crafted to operate safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

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

Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may face challenges when trying to meet the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the possibility of electrical fires.

Incorrect use of heating devices: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like firing up the oven to provide warmth, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be dangerous.

General Guidelines

Use these safety tips in the winter and through the year to keep your household and family safe:

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

Flammable items: Always put anything that can burn no less than 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Instruct your youngest family members about the dangers of matches, candles and heating equipment. Next, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to prevent accidents. 

Electrical safety: Don’t use heating appliances with extension cords or power strips. Additionally, 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: Thoroughly supervise lit candles and blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms: Use these items inside your home, especially right outside sleeping areas and test them monthly.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are some helpful heating system safety tips to keep in mind this winter:

Professional setup: Because a poor 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 enjoy peace of mind for many years, knowing your equipment is working the way it should.

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

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to function unattended or while you’re asleep. Put 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: Install a metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from getting out 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 residence.

Partner with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for Heating Service in the U.S.

As the winter season intensifies, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to maintain your comfort and security. 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 happy with our service, 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 dedicated to innovation and customer engagement. For assistance staying warm this winter, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

  • How to Find a Good HVAC System

    When it comes to keeping your home comfortable year-round, nothing is more essential than choosing the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This decision impacts your daily comfort, monthly utility costs and overall home efficiency. However, with so many system types,... Continue reading

  • Yearly HVAC Maintenance List

    Once the air starts to get cold, you know it’s time to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead. Your heating system is crucial to maintaining a cozy, warm setting. A well-maintained furnace delivers the comfort you crave while using less energy. Routine inspections also make your system... Continue reading

  • HVAC Trends: What’s New in 2024

    In the ever-evolving world of home heating and cooling, keeping up with the newest HVAC trends is very important for homeowners who want to enhance their home’s comfort and efficiency. Looking into 2024, the HVAC industry continues to innovate, bringing brand-new technologies and trends aimed at... Continue reading