Winter Heating Safety Tips

  • By: Cheli Scott
  • Date: Nov 10 2022

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Winter heating safety tips

The temperatures are dropping and we all want to stay warm and cozy this winter, so we have assembled some winter heating safety tips to keep you comfy and safe this holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the leading cause of fires in US homes, causing billions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of deaths.

The most common cause of home heating fires was failure to clean soiled heating equipment, while space heaters, alone, account for 80% of home heating fire deaths. Half of heating fire deaths were caused by things being placed too close to heating equipment. These are all easy mistakes to make that can lead to catastrophic outcomes. December, January, and February are the most dangerous months of the year for home heating fires.

There are simple steps you can take to help mitigate the potential for serious harm and damage caused by home heating equipment like a space heater. Keep reading to find out what you can do to keep your family safe and warm this winter.

mittens holding a cup in winter

Using your oven to heat your home

One of the most common and dangerous mistakes homeowner’s make in the winter time is using their oven to heat their home. This is an incredibly dangerous practice for a number of reasons. Your oven is not heating equipment and using it this way can cause home heating fires.

One, leaving your oven on and open when not in use poses a serious risk to children and pets. They can accidently burn themselves on exposed heating elements.

It’s also possible to risk carbon monoxide poisoning if your oven is not functioning properly. The simplest reason not to use your oven to heat your home, is that it is not very efficient. It may warm the immediate area, but will not make your entire house comfortable.

Carbon monoxide safety tips

When using home heating equipment, you run a higher risk of exposure to dangerous gas. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned. This means appliances like your water heaters, furnaces, gas stoves, and even fireplaces put off carbon monoxide.

In order to prepare for this risk, it is important to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to alert you if there is a high buildup of the gas. Test them monthly to make sure they are in proper working order.

It is also essential that stationary heat producing appliances are installed by a professional, experienced technician and inspected annually for leaks. A technician will be able to design an appropriate ventilation system that will move gas safely out of your home.

In addition to carbon monoxide detectors, winter is a good time to inspect and install smoke alarms in case of fire. Just like carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms should be tested monthly.

Leave space

While furnaces and boilers are often out of sight and out of mind, it is important to check them periodically to be sure debris hasn’t built up around them. Keep a three foot radius of clear space around water heaters, furnaces, and boilers to prevent fires. Discourage children from hiding and playing around them, as well.

a carbon monoxide detector

Fireplace safety tips

One of the number one causes of home fires in the winter is fire caused by dirty chimneys. Be sure to have your chimney inspected annually by a technician. Keep the flue open while the fire is in use.

The type of wood you use, also effects your chimney. Be sure to use dry wood, as fresh wood can contain high levels of moisture which causes more smoke and more buildup on your chimney. Good seasoned wood should have a hollow sound when tapped and will appear darker.

Have doors installed on the front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from landing on your floors or furniture.

Be sure to clean out old ashes and place them in a metal container with a lid. This metal container should be stored at least ten feet away from your home.

Fireplaces are a kid free zone. While it is enjoyable to have your family gathered around the fire, make sure your children stay back an appropriate distance.


Portable space heater safety tips

Portable space heaters are a leading cause of home heating fire deaths, so should be used with care and consideration. In places like Florida, where the temperature doesn’t dip for very long, they are a popular form of home heating, but there are some things to keep in mind when using them.

Using space heaters safely

Just like furnaces and boilers, you should keep a clear area of three feet around your portable space heater. This means no children or pets in this area, either. Never put a space heater in a child’s room unattended. Heating equipment should be a kid free zone.

Be sure to turn of your space heater when you go to sleep and never leave it running in a room by itself.

One common mistake consumers make when using space heaters is placing them on tables and counters. Space heaters are designed to go on hard, level, non-flammable surfaces like floors.

Be sure your space heater is plugged into wall outlets, not extension chords or electrical strips.

Have a safe winter

With these simple tips you can stay warm and cozy this winter season, without worrying about your safety. Of course, one of the most important aspects of winter safety is having your heating equipment annually inspected by an HVAC technician like the ones at bhild.com. Call us today, or fill out our form here for a free estimate on HVAC services!

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