Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

If you want your family to stay warm and safe this winter than you have to understand the risks associated with boilers and furnaces in your home. Tragically, perusing the winter headlines often reveals stories of injury and loss due to poorly maintained heating and cooling equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires in the winter months. Consider getting a new boiler if your current one poses a safety risk. In the meantime, here are some tips to keep your home safe.

  • Keep flammable objects three feet away from your home’s heating equipment, including wood stoves, fireplaces and space heaters.
  • Hire professionals to install new central heating units or new boilers when old ones pose a safety risk to your family.
  • Inspect and maintain your boiler annually. This is something you need a professional to do to ensure your equipment is ready for a busy winter of heating your home.
  • Make sure the vents aren’t blocked by furniture or anything else.
  • Change the air filter regularly to keep your unit running efficiently.
  • Keep children away from the furnace and boiler.
  • Make sure your furnace exhaust system is the right size and that your chimney, flues and connector pipes are clear of debris.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms save lives. Test yours every month and install one on each floor for optimal detection. Don’t forget to replace the batteries on a regular basis. Remember, regular smoke alarms don’t detect carbon monoxide, so you need a specialized detector for that. Put up carbon monoxide detectors the next time you test your smoke alarms. Carbox monoxide can cause weakness, headache, vomiting, confusion and fainting.

Taking Furnace Safety Seriously

Pay attention to any odd sounds that mean it’s time to call a professional. Make sure to check all exit routes from your home, and fix any security issues you discover. Every member of the household has to take part in the safety plan to make sure they understand how to prevent furnace and boiler accidents.

If you purchase home warranty insurance for your heating and cooling systems, it can help you with the cost of repairs and replacements. This type of insurance typically covers other systems as well.

Follow these essential tips to keep your equipment running optimally and to match sure your family knows how to prevent an emergency.