How do you heat your home? When was the last time you checked your heating system? Have you ever had it inspected by a professional? If you're unsure of the answer to any of these questions, or worse, your answers seem dated, you may have an issue on your hands.
Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths, with more than half reported during December, January and February. Heating in the winter is necessary to keeping your family warm and safe from the outside elements.
Keep the following tips in mind for a safe, warm winter season.
- If the home uses a fossil fuel furnace that is more than 10 years old, it needs to be inspected right away and serviced by a qualified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor.
- Electric furnaces should be checked while on the emergency heat cycle in order to ensure everything is in proper working order.
- Furnace filters should be changed on a regular basis, depending on the type of filter being used and the amount of dust that may collect on it. Generally, this is done once every three to four months.
For optimal safety during the cold months:
- Be sure your chimney, water heater and other heating equipment are inspected regularly.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to keep sparks from flying out and lighting any objects on fire.
- Never heat your home using the oven, as this can cause an explosion if left unattended or on for too long.