HVAC Safety Tips You Need to Know

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

Understanding the Risks

Because households rely heavily on heating systems when it’s cold, home fires and heating-related accidents spike this time of year. A few frequent risks include:

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

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a helpful backup plan. On the other hand, incorrect use can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Make sure these devices 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 winter season. Even though engineered to function safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Not enough ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can result in 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Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When overloaded, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

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

General Precautions

Observe these safety guidelines in the winter and throughout the year to keep your residence 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 air out the building, evacuate the area and call 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: Teach your children about the risks of matches, candles and heating equipment. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to prevent 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 guidelines help stop electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Diligently supervise lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before exiting the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms: Install these products in your home, especially right next to sleeping areas and test them every 30 days.

Safety Strategies for Heating Appliances

Here are the top heating system safety tricks to follow this winter:

Professional HVAC service: 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 operating the way it should.

Scheduled maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can discover hidden issues that might not be apparent to the untrained eye. These appointments can detect worn-out parts, ventilation malfunctions and potential gas leaks. Regular 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 asleep. Position 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: Install a metal screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from escaping and igniting nearby items. Put out the flames before leaving the residence or sleeping. Once it has completely cooled, gather the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your house.

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 supply fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not pleased with our service, you can count on us to make it right. Beyond our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is significantly involved in the local communities we serve and remain devoted 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.