Your home’s heating and cooling system is essential to ensure optimal comfort throughout the year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), faulty heating equipment was responsible for more than 50,000 fires in 2011 alone. Taking time out this fall to have a professional perform maintenance on your HVAC system can help you avoid unexpected breakdowns, ensuring ¬†greatest degree of safety for you and your family this winter. Here are five proven tips for keeping warm and staying safe during even the coldest days.

Keep Things Clear

The NFPA recommends leaving a 3-foot buffer space between furnace equipment and flammable materials. This can help to prevent accidental fires caused by paper, wood or other items in the vicinity of the furnace. Additionally, keeping these areas clear can provide easy access for changing filters and routine maintenance for your HVAC system.

Test your Smoke Alarms

Especially during the winter months when your furnace is in use, testing your home smoke alarms and replacing batteries as needed can be a valuable first line of defense against fire. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Fire Administration indicate that one out of three residential fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors and alarms. Ensuring that all fire safety devices are fully functional can provide you and your family with added protection all year around.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

Giving your furnace a checkup every fall can ensure that it’s in top condition. Professional HVAC system technicians can often spot problems to give you a heads-up on future repairs and replacements. These heating and cooling experts can also provide you with guidance on reducing your heating costs and ensuring optimal comfort for the chilly days ahead. By working with an established company, you can be sure that you’re ready for cold weather well before it arrives.

Check Your Venting

Excess heat can result in discoloration of walls near or surrounding your vents. If you observe changes in color, abnormal peeling of paint or scorching around your venting system, contact your heating and cooling company immediately. These symptoms typically signal a serious problem with your furnace that could result in fire if not addressed promptly.

Don’t Do It Yourself

Most furnace repairs require the attention of a trained technician to ensure optimal heating safety for your home. Modern furnaces often use electronic ignition systems that can carry considerable voltage and may cause injury to inexperienced do-it-yourselfers. Attempting to work on your furnace without proper training can potentially result in further damage to delicate components and may turn a small problem into a major repair expense.

Enlisting the help of a professional heating and cooling company can help you reduce your heating costs and reduce the risk of unexpected breakdowns. The professionals at Commonwealth Cooling & Heating are here to help anyone in the Lorton, Virgina, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information about how to practice safety and safe.