HVAC Safety Tips You Need to Know

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater on full blast 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 become a hazard if not used and maintained appropriately. 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 in the winter, home fires and heating-related accidents are more common this time of year. A few typical risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter festivities often include decorative lights and candles. Even though these items make the long winter nights more cozy, they can become fire threats if left unattended or set near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a helpful backup plan. However, incorrect use can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances are located outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces are among the many threats of home fires during the winter season. Even though engineered to operate safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

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

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

Wrong use of heating devices: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like turning on the oven to heat your home, or placing wet socks over a space heater, can be dangerous.

General Safeguards

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

Gas leaks: If you notice a mysterious rotten egg smell, it might be a gas leak. For your safety, act immediately—open windows and doors to ventilate the area, evacuate the area and contact your local gas company and fire department.

Combustible items: Make sure to place anything that can burn a minimum of 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

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

Electrical safety: Do not run heating equipment using 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: Diligently monitor lit candles and extinguish them before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Keep these items in your home, especially right next to sleeping areas and test them monthly.

Ways to Stay Safe with Heating Systems

Here are several heating system safety tips to consider 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 trained service pro. You’ll enjoy peace of mind for years, knowing your equipment is working the way it ought to.

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by skilled professionals can discover hidden problems that might not be recognizable to the untrained eye. These visits can detect worn-out parts, ventilation malfunctions and potential gas leaks. Routine maintenance also ensures optimum efficiency and lengthens your system’s life span.

Space heaters: You shouldn’t ever allow space heaters to operate unattended or while you’re sleeping. 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: Place a metal screen in front of the fireplace to keep sparks from getting out and igniting nearby materials. Blow out the flames before leaving your dwelling or nodding off to sleep. Once it has completely 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 winter season intensifies, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and security. Our ACE-certified technicians supply fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not thrilled with our performance, you can depend on us to make it right. Along with our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is deeply 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.