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Decking the Halls? Double Check These Indoor Fire and Heating Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season means festive activities, giving generously, and spending time with loved ones – but unfortunately it often also means a spike in home fire incidents and injuries. However, the good news is that it’s very easy to keep your furnace and other heating systems safe while keeping your home warm for the winter months.  So before you deck the halls, make sure you’re following some basics for heating safety this season. Here are our top 3 heating system safety tips.

Tip 1: Give Your Heating System Room!

Keep your furnace, space heaters, woodstove, or fireplace clear of flammable materials like paper, cardboard, or even the Christmas tree. This means not stacking anything on top of the furnace or letting anything come near a space heater or fireplace. A good rule of thumb is to keep any items or materials three feet away from fixed and mobile heat sources (like heaters) to ensure a safe distance. The same goes for people. Orienting your household several feet away from the heat sources protects everyone from fire, fumes, and smoke. Remind small children to avoid playing near heating systems and, if necessary, install a safety gate to keep anyone from getting too close.

Tip 2: Plug Any Space Heaters Directly Into the Wall

Extension cords and power strips may seem like an ideal way to get the heat where you want it or free up space at the wall outlet.  However, these convenient household items are never suited to handle the amount of electricity your space heater requires. A quick Google search will reveal images of what can happen when you fail to follow this safety advice.  At best, you might get a melted power strip. At worst, your house may burn down.  So be safe, plug space heaters only into the wall, and use your extension cords and power strips for less power-hungry appliances, lamps, and Christmas lights.

Tip 3: Be Clean, Be Safe

Any component of your home that generates heat including the furnace, fireplace, mini-heaters, and even the washer and dryer should be kept clear and clean. Dust and debris are not only unpleasant to see, but can also cause safety risks. Any grime present in complex HVAC systems like the furnace could disrupt the internal mechanisms, cause damage to the unit, and create a fire hazard. Too much dust in the furnace unit also risks combusting as the unit heats up. The same goes for the fireplace and woodstove.  Keep your flue and chimney clean with annual visits by your local chimney sweep. Finally, clearing out dryer lint prevents a fire hazard and helps your clothes dry more efficiently. The best way to keep the furnace and other heat sources safe is to have these areas professionally cleaned. Besides cleaning for aesthetic appeal, our certified HVAC specialists at Exxel Mechanical Services deliver a thorough inspection and cleaning of furnaces that pose the most risk of heating safety problems. Ventilation air filters are one example of a component that should be cleared properly to ensure smooth operation and safe air quality, in addition to fire safety.

Tip 4: Check for Carbon Monoxide

When you’re working with a furnace, it’s critical that you make sure that your air quality is safe. The same sources of fire or poor home air quality can also be tied to carbon monoxide contamination. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and deadly – so it’s critical to be proactive when using organic heat sources like natural gas or wood. Before you turn up the heat, have furnace specialists confirm that your furnace unit is operating safely and not producing carbon monoxide. Then, get the appropriate number of carbon monoxide detectors for your home and make sure they are properly installed and fully operational. Remember, with lifesaving equipment like carbon monoxide detectors, it’s always better to have them and never need them than to need them and not have them.

Prepare for Fire and Heating Safety Now!

Regular and seasonal furnace maintenance is a cost-effective and proactive step that guarantees the safety and sustainability of your heating system. You also get the peace of mind that critical repairs have been implemented effectively before or in time for seasonal gatherings when you really need safe heating! A healthy furnace makes a safe, happy home. Don’t wait for problems to worsen when you can easily correct problems and make sure your house is safe from fire and heating issues. You’ll be able to use your furnace with confidence and enjoy a warm and cozy holiday season!

Contact Exxel Mechanical Services Today For A Safe Holiday Season

Are you experiencing problems with your heating system or concerned about the upcoming winter weather? We offer free consultations to examine your unit and give you the best options for quality HVAC performance. Did we mention we also have flexible maintenance plans? Give us a quick call at (443) 821-1040 and our friendly team will be happy to assist you!