Furnace Safety Tips for Winter

Winter has officially arrived in Canada, leaving you no choice but to run the heater on full blast to keep your home comfortable. Are you certain your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While vital for staying warm, heating equipment can become a hazard if not used and maintained properly. Explore some essential heating system safety tips to ensure a cozy and worry-free winter.

Understanding the Risks

Because households rely heavily on heating systems in the winter, home fires and heating-related accidents spike this time of year. Some common risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter festivities often include decorative lights and candles. While 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 power outage is a helpful backup plan. However, improper usage can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure 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. While designed to operate safely, these devices can become dangerous if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.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Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of modern heating appliances.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 running the oven to heat your home, or draping wet socks over a space heater, can be dangerous.

General Precautions

Follow these safety tips in the winter and throughout 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 air things out, evacuate the area and contact 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: Teach your kids about the dangers of matches, candles and heating equipment. Then, establish a “kid-free zone” around open flames and heaters to prevent accidents. 

Electrical safety: Avoid plugging heating appliances into extension cords or power strips. Also, 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: Carefully monitor lit candles and extinguish them before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Install these devices throughout your home, especially right outside sleeping areas and test them monthly.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are the top heating system safety tips to keep in mind 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 professional. You’ll enjoy peace of mind for years, knowing your equipment is operating the way it should.

Regular maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by qualified professionals can uncover hidden issues that might not be apparent to the untrained eye. These inspections can identify worn-out parts, ventilation problems and potential gas leaks. Regular maintenance also ensures peak efficiency and extends your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Never allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re asleep. Place these devices 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 prevent sparks from escaping and igniting nearby objects. Extinguish the flames before leaving home or going to bed. Once it has completely cooled, collect 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 Canada

As the winter season intensifies, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and safety. Our ACE-certified technicians provide 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 deeply involved in the local communities we serve and remain committed to innovation and customer engagement. For help ensuring a worry-free winter, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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