HVAC Safety Tips You Need to Know

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., requiring you to run the heater at its highest setting to keep your home comfortable. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating devices are safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained correctly. Check out some essential heating system safety tips to ensure a warm and stress-free winter.

Knowing the Risks

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

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

Generators: Operating a generator during a blackout is a good backup plan. However, improper usage can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Confirm that these appliances are positioned outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces contribute significantly to home fires during the colder months. Although engineered to operate safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Poor ventilation: Improper 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Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may encounter difficulties from the demands of modern heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the risk of electrical fires.

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

General Precautions

Follow these safety recommendations in the winter and during the year to keep your household and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you detect an inexplicable rotten egg smell, it may be a gas leak. For your protection, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and get in touch with your local gas company and fire department.

Burnable items: Make sure to place 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 children about the dangers of matches, candles and heating equipment. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” near open flames and heaters to reduce the chance of accidents. 

Electrical safety: Do not run heating equipment using extension cords or power strips. Also, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These guidelines help avoid electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Diligently monitor lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

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

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are the top heating system safety tips to keep in mind this winter:

Professional HVAC service: 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 get peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is running the way it is supposed to.

Regular maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can expose hidden concerns that might not be visible to the untrained eye. These visits can identify worn-out parts, ventilation problems and potential gas leaks. Scheduled maintenance also ensures optimum efficiency and lengthens your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re asleep. Position 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 escaping and igniting nearby objects. Extinguish the flames before leaving home or going to bed. Once it has totally cooled, collect the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your premises.

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 protect your comfort and security. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, long-lasting remedies for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with our work, you can depend 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 devoted to innovation and customer engagement. For help ensuring a worry-free winter, call 866-397-3787 today to set up an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.