Home Heating Safety Essentials

A black, square space heater placed in a living room.

Keep Safety in Mind

When winter rolls around, we flip on the furnace and enjoy the warmth of our home and forget the bitter outdoors. But it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Not only do furnaces and other heating systems need maintenance, but you should also be mindful of taking safety precautions while operating these appliances. Here’s what you should be thinking about while heating your home this winter.

Install Safeguards

If something does go wrong, you should have things in place to mitigate damage. You should have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors on at least every floor of the home.

Test these detectors monthly to make sure they are operational and have spare batteries at the ready. If you already have them, check to make sure they have not expired, which renders them less effective and eventually stops working.

If a carbon monoxide detector goes off, exit the home immediately and call 911.

Install a fireplace barrier if you have one, and make sure pets and children don’t try to venture inside. Opt for equipment with safety features like emergency shut-offs and temperature control.

Lastly, have an escape plan for you or your family in case of an emergency.

Safety with Children

Having children in your home amplifies the need for safety precautions. Children are likely not as aware of the dangers of home appliances, especially HVAC, as adults may be.

As a general rule, keep children at least three feet away from heating appliances, especially fireplaces and space heaters.

Maintaining Your HVAC

One of the most important ways to keep your heating system safe is to have it installed by a professional technician. They will get you set up and on the right track to a warm winter. As time goes on, have your system seasonally maintained by a professional so that they can catch any lingering issues. Systems that are broken or inefficient pose an inherently higher safety risk.

Each winter, you should also have your chimney and fuel-burning appliances checked and cleaned by a professional.

Watch Your Space Heater

Space heaters are one of the top causes of home heating fires in the United States. Therefore, extra caution should be taken if using one.

Keep flammable items at least 3 feet away from a space heater, including rugs, blankets, and furniture. Also, never leave a space heater unattended, especially with children or pets around. Use the manufacturer-prescribed fuel for the space heater and look for a model that has an automatic shut-off. In the event of a tip-over, the unit will cut off the heat source. It’s also a good idea to unplug the heater and turn it off when not in use.

Similarly, your oven is not a space heater. Do not use it to heat your home. Not only is it wildly inefficient, but the exhaust fumes can also be a hazard to your health.

Fireplace Safety

Fireplaces are a great asset during the winter but can also be dangerous, as it is about as close to an open flame you can get. The rules about distance for space heaters also apply to fireplaces. Keep children, pets, and flammable materials at least three feet away from the flame and never leave it unattended.

If your fireplace produces ashes, make sure they are cold and the fire is completely out before disposing of them. Don’t put ashes in plastic or directly in the trash. Dump cool ashes in a metal container and then dispose of them in a garbage outside the home. These precautions will help prevent possible flare-ups.

Heating Safety in Lithia Springs

Safety is top of mind for Ronald Smith Heating & Air and our team of HVAC experts. Contact us today for reliable service that keeps you warm all winter.