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Homeowners don’t often think about heating safety, but when winter rolls around, they need to be more mindful. Here are just a few things you need to know about heating system safety.

Make sure your heating system is inspected at least twice a year and is cleaned and repaired regularly by a professional home heating repair service. HVAC systems are more delicate than they look. Improper equipment installation alone could decrease your home’s heating and cooling efficiency by 30% and increase the risk of a malfunction. Make sure your system is inspected, you air ducts are cleaned out every three to five years, and your HVAC system’s filter is changed regularly.

If you rely on a wood-burning stove or fireplace for your heat, it’s important to have this cleaned out, too. The biggest cause of heating system-related fires in U.S. homes today is a failure to clean, and this is most often the case for chimney fires. Space heaters can help homeowners warm their homes, but they’re also one of the most common causes of house fires. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from these heaters, and keep the heaters placed on the floor. Never leave a space heater running in an empty room, and never use a space heater that appears to be damaged.

Speaking of that three-foot safety circle, it should also apply to other heating equipment, such as your furnace, fireplace, or wood-burning stove. If you have children or pets in your home, designate these areas as “Kid-Free and Pet-Free Zones.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning happens often during the winter, because HVAC systems emit this odorless, tasteless, dangerous gas. Every home should have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, which should be tested at least once a month. Bear in mind, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal if it is not caught and treated early. Common symptoms include sleepiness, weakness, nausea, dizziness, headache, and extreme confusion; the symptoms are often described as “flu-like,” but they develop much faster than the flu. If you think you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide in your home, immediately call 911 and go outside or seek a space with open ventilation.

As always, if you have any questions or any tips of your own, be sure to let us know!

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