While your home’s furnace can be a source of warmth and comfort during the cold winter months, it can also be a potential danger. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over fifteen percent of house fires from 2009-2013 were caused by heating equipment and resulted in death, injury, and millions of dollars in property damage. If you are ready to turn on your furnace for the upcoming winter, here are a few safety tips that can prevent you and your family from becoming an unfortunate statistic.

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  1.     Change the Furnace Filter Regularly

A furnace filter that is clogged with dust, hair, and other debris is a potential fire hazard and should be inspected before you turn your furnace on for the season and then each month it is in operation. Changing the filter regularly not only lowers the risk of fire, it can also improve the air quality in your home and allow your HVAC’s duct system operate more efficiently. If you are unsure about how to change your furnace’s filters, you might want to call in a professional to get expert advice about which are the best choice for your home.

  1.     Keep Your Furnace Free of Clutter

The risk of fire from your furnace may be increased if there is a lot of clutter around it. Storing carboard boxes full of clothing, books, or common household liquids that are flammable near your furnace is an accident waiting to happen and should be avoided. If your furnace is in the basement where you store many items, consider using non-flammable containers and stack them on the other side of the room. If you have a small basement, then consider investing in a storage shed. This can prevent fires and give you easy access to your furnace when you require it.

  1.     Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Some newer furnaces have a safety shutoff switch if the unit produces too much carbon monoxide, which is an odorless gas that can cause severe illness or even death if it leaks into your home via your heating unit. However, some older furnaces do not have this feature, so installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home’s bedrooms and the main rooms of your home can prevent disaster if a leak should happen. The proper inspection and operation of your furnace can reduce the risk of a leak, but the addition of carbon monoxide detectors may offer you peace of mind as well.

  1.     Have Your Furnace Inspected

If you have an older furnace, having it inspected before you turn it on for the winter is an important safety measure to take. HVAC professionals can identify problems that are not immediately visible and help you understand the best course of action, such as whether your furnace needs replacing. Not only can an efficient furnace be a factor in saving you money on your energy bills, it can help reduce the risk of fire and other incidents that could cause your family harm.

Your home’s furnace is an important factor in keeping your home comfortable during the winter months. However, you must ensure that it is operating at peak performance in order to enjoy its warmth and the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family is safe in its presence.