HVAC Safety Tips You Need to Know

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., leaving you no choice but to run the heater on full blast to keep your home comfortable. Are you sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained correctly. Check out some important heating system safety tips to ensure a warm 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. A few frequent risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter events frequently 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 a blackout is a good backup plan. But, improper usage can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure 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 winter. Even though designed to function safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

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

Old wiring: Older homes with antiquated electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When operated beyond its capacity, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

Improper 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 Precautions

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

Gas leaks: If you detect an inexplicable rotten egg smell, it could be a gas leak. For your safety, 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: Make sure to place anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Instruct your kids about the risks of matches, candles and heating devices. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Energy safety: Avoid plugging heating appliances into extension cords or power strips. In addition, 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: Diligently supervise lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide sensors: Use these products in your home, especially right next to sleeping areas and test them every month.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are some helpful heating system safety guidelines to take into account 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 appreciate peace of mind for years, knowing your equipment is running the way it ought to.

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can expose hidden concerns that might not be apparent to the untrained eye. These visits can detect 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: Don’t allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re in bed. Place these items 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 keep sparks from flying out and igniting nearby materials. Blow out the flames before leaving the residence or nodding off to sleep. Once it has entirely cooled, collect 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 months intensify, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians deliver fast, long-lasting remedies for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not thrilled with our service, you can rely on us to make it right. Beyond 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 arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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