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 warm. Are you sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating equipment is safe? While essential for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained correctly. Discover some essential heating system safety tips to ensure a comfortable and stress-free winter.

Knowing the Risks

Because households rely heavily on heating systems during colder months, home fires and heating-related accidents increase this time of year. A few typical risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter celebrations typically include decorative lights and candles. While these items make the long winter nights more inviting, they can become safety risks if left unattended or set near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during an electricity outage is a beneficial backup plan. But, incorrect use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure these devices 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. Even though engineered to function safely, these devices can become hazardous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or not operated safely.

Not enough 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Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may face challenges when trying to meet the demands of modern heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the likelihood of electrical fires.

Wrong use of heating appliances: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like firing up the oven to heat your home, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be hazardous.

General Safety Measures

Use these safety guidelines in the winter and during the year to keep your home and family safe:

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

Flammable items: Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Educate your youngest family members about the dangers of matches, candles and heating products. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electric 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 avoid 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 alarms: Use these devices in your home, especially right by sleeping areas and test them every month.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are several heating system safety tips to consider this winter:

Professional installation: Because a poor setup can increase the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and electrical shock, you should always leave furnace installation to an expert. You’ll enjoy peace of mind for a long time, knowing your equipment is working the way it ought to.

Routine maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by trained professionals can expose hidden issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye. These appointments can find worn-out parts, ventilation problems and potential gas leaks. Scheduled maintenance also ensures maximum efficiency and helps lengthen your system’s life span.

Space heaters: You shouldn’t ever allow space heaters to function unattended or while you’re sleeping. 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 heater.

Fireplaces: Place a metal screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from flying out and igniting nearby materials. Extinguish the flames before leaving home 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 house.

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

As the cold weather gets worse, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to protect your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians offer fast, long-lasting solutions for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not thrilled with our work, you can count 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 dedicated 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.

  • How to Choose a Good HVAC System

    When it comes to keeping your home comfortable during every season, nothing is more critical than picking out the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This choice influences your daily comfort, monthly utility bills and all-around home efficiency. But, with so many system... Continue reading

  • Year-End 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 critical to maintaining a cozy, warm environment. A well-maintained furnace delivers the comfort you crave while using a smaller amount of energy. Routine inspections also... Continue reading

  • 2024 Furnace and Air Conditioning Trends

    In the ever-evolving world of home HVAC, keeping up with the newest HVAC trends is imperative for homeowners looking to enhance their home’s comfort and efficiency. Going into 2024, the HVAC industry continues to innovate, bringing brand-new technologies and trends aimed at changing how... Continue reading