Fall is right around the corner and with it come cooler temperatures. While many look forward to the change of seasons, there are many tasks to do to make sure your home is ready for the switch from air conditioning to heating. Keep reading to learn how to heat your home safely all season long.
HEATING EQUIPMENT SAFETY TIPS
According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, an estimated 137,700 residential heating fires were reported to fire departments between 2013 and 2015. Heating is the second-leading cause of all home fires and accounts for 12% of residential building fires in the United States.
Thankfully, most of these cases are confined fires, meaning that they didn’t leave the fireplace or other contained area the fires began in. Keep your family safe and warm this season by taking the precautions to keep your heating equipment in top shape and following our expert’s tips on heater safety:
Schedule Annual Heater Maintenance
Regular maintenance is the easiest way to prevent unexpected issues from creating a dangerous situation in your home. A professional will be able to clean out any dusty or long-unused areas of your system and check to make sure everything is in good shape before you start using your system. If there are any concerns to take note of, they can recommend the best solution for your specific situation.
Test Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The U.S. Fire Administration suggests checking your carbon monoxide detectors at least once per month to ensure the batteries still hold a charge and everything is in working order. This is especially important if you have an older heater, as a system over 15 years old may be nearing the end of its life. Older equipment has a greater chance of releasing carbon monoxide into your home’s air supply.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is toxic to pets and humans. Breathing in carbon monoxide can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
Shortness of breath
Prolonged exposure to CO can result in more severe symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, loss of coordination, and ultimately, death.
Check Your Chimney
Lighting a fire on a chilly evening is a great way to warm up, but if you haven’t maintained your chimney or fireplace, it can have disastrous results. Chimneys trap soot and many combustible materials along the interior walls, so have your chimney cleaned out annually. Not cleaning your chimney can result in a fire as the leftover soot and creosote combust.
Be sure to check your chimney for structural damages every year before using your fireplace as well. A chimney with cracks allows air to leak into your fireplace which could ignite and start a fire outside your home.
Closely Monitor Space Heater Use
Space heaters are a hereat way to warm one area of your home, but they can also be incredibly dangerous. Purchase space heaters with an automatic turn-off feature. This way, if you forget to turn your heater off before you leave the house or if it falls over while in use, the heater will automatically shut off.
Never leave a space heater on while unattended in your home and keep anything flammable (such as blankets, curtains, etc.) far away from the heater.
Change Your Air Filter Every 1-3 Months
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—changing your air filter every 30 - 90 days is the most cost-effective way to keep your HVAC equipment in peak condition year-round. If your heater is seeing heavy use during the fall or winter months, change your air filter more frequently to prevent dust and debris from blocking your filters and making your heater work harder than necessary.
Maintain 3 Feet Radius Around Heat Sources
All heat sources should have at least 3 ft of space in every direction. Whether its a candle, a space heater, your fireplace, or any other piece of heating equipment, preventing fires can be as simple as not allowing flammable things near the source of heat.
Heater safety can be simple if you know what hazards to look out for. Schedule your heater maintenance with our experienced team today by calling (800) 830-9054!