Furnace & Heater Safety Tips

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We’ve been lucky this fall – the weather’s been pretty mild for the past couple weeks. But whether we’re ready for it or not, winter is coming and thousands of families throughout the Maryland and Washington, DC area will be firing up their furnaces or heating systems. And while furnaces are crucial this time of year, they are also the number one cause of home fires during the winter. So if you’re planning on turning on your furnace over the next couple of weeks, make sure you read these furnace safety tips first!

Furnace Safety Tips

  • Keep your filters fresh and free of dust (clean or change them once a month).
  • Make sure your furnace exhaust vent is clear of leaves and animal nests. Also be sure to keep the roof vents clear of snow.
  • If the blower motor and fan get dirty, turn them off and carefully vacuum them.
  • Keep your furnace closet clean and organized, and never store or dry clothes in it.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and make sure it works properly. If you don’t already have one, call Michael Bonsby!
  • Make sure your pilot light stays lit and burns properly. It should burn smoothly with a blue flame. If it doesn’t, (the flame flickers or is yellow-orange), this indicates it is not burning completely and is more than likely producing carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, and a low level carbon monoxide detector will help keep you safe in this situation.

Space Heater Safety Tips

Space heaters are a great way to supplement your home’s heat if you need a little boost. However, they also present a potentially severe fire risk if not handled carefully. Make sure you follow these fire safety tips when using your space heater:

  • Maintain three-feet of space between your space heater and anything that could catch on fire, including curtains, clothing, furniture, carpeting, etc. Obviously, never put anything flammable on top of your heater.
  • Never use extension cords with your space heater.
  • Make sure your space heater’s cord is not damaged or frayed.
  • Check the temperature of the outlet your space heater is plugged into. If it feels hot, stop using the heater right away. You may also want to have the outlet replaced.
  • Only use your space heater on a flat, level surface.
  • Never use your heater in damp, wet areas unless it is specifically designed to be used in humid environments.
  • Make sure the heater is marked with a UL seal. This indicates that it is certified safe.

Of course, the easiest way to stay safe is to call Michael Bonsby HVAC & Plumbing to have a Maryland furnace inspection! We’ll take a look at your furnace, check the flue pipes, blower motors, fan belts, etc. to make sure everything is working safely and effectively. Contact us today!

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