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Heating Safety Tips for the Winter Holidays

by Daniel Estevao on December 9, 2015

Did you know that about half of all home heating fires occur during December, January, and February? Heating safety should be at the top of your holiday to-do list this winter season.

Home Heating Holiday Safety

These furnace and heating fires are largely due to a lack of professional maintenance. According to NFPA, “the leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.”

The majority of these heating-related fires, however, come from placing combustible items too close to your heating equipment.

Luckily, we are sharing some heating safety tips and precautions to keep you safe all winter long. Now, all you have to worry about is what gifts to buy your family and friends.

Heating Safety Tips for the Holidays

Winter holidays are great for cuddling up indoors, but that also means a greater risk for heating-related fires. Follow our heating safety tips to remain warm and safe from fires this holiday season:

  • If your furnace or chimney has not been inspected within the past 12 months, make sure you schedule your heating and chimney maintenance as soon as you can! Your furnace and chimney should be professionally cleaned and inspected every year.
  • When scheduling your annual heating maintenance, have a qualified professional service your equipment. This will ensure that manufacturer instructions and local codes are followed.
  • When choosing your holiday decorations, check for flame-resistant/retardant materials.
  • Keep anything that can burn far away from any open flames or heating equipment.
  • There should be a minimum 3 ft. clearance around your heating equipment, including space heaters, furnaces, candles, fireplace, and stove. This area should also be a “child-free zone.”
  • NEVER use candles, ovens, or stoves to heat your home.
  • Turn off space heaters and holiday decorations before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • Space heaters should always be plugged in directly to your outlet. Never use an extension cord for space heaters!
  • Check your fireplace and chimney before using. You should have a sturdy mesh screen to prevent embers and sparks from entering the living space. Wait until the ashes are cool to remove. Place the remains of your fire into a metal container and keep the container far away from the home.
  • Remember to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly (every 30 days).
  • It is recommended that you use flame-free candles; but if you must use candles this holiday season, always be present and aware of their placement. Never use candles near anything that can burn, such as drapes, trees, paper, or any other combustible item.
  • Make sure your Christmas tree is far away from any heat sources including, direct sunlight, heating vents/registers, space heaters, and radiators.
  • If you are purchasing an artificial tree or any electrical decorations, make sure these items are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • If you are using a natural tree, check the water level every day and make sure the tree is properly moist. Dry trees can easily erupt into flames.

For more holiday/heating safety advice, watch these videos from NFPA:

In addition to heating safety, we also have lots of tips and advice for winterizing your home for extra savings this winter. Check out our winterization blogs to help you save money and energy this holiday season:


Call Pacific Air Systems Heating & Cooling at 253.292.3995 for 24/7 service!

We’ve been proudly serving our communities in Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma and Gig Harbor since 1984.

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Wishing you a safe a joyous holiday season!