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Warming toes by fireThis winter promises to bring plenty of cold days, and you will need to turn on the heat. However, your heating system might only see use during certain times of the year. This infrequent use likely means that you have to operate it with care.

Home heating systems are complex. Some homes might have furnaces, electrical systems, space heaters, radiators or fire places. And each of these comes with usage risks. Neglected systems might break down, and in worse-case scenarios might cause a fire.

Whether your homeowners insurance will cover damage to or from your heating systems often depends on if the accident was unavoidable. If it was, you might be able to get coverage. However, if you could have prevented the damage, your policy might not cover you. For example, homeowners policies often don’t cover damage from normal wear and tear.

A responsible homeowner will take care of their heating systems when starting them. Doing so helps ensure that you can stay warm, safe and secure in your home. Keep these tips in mind for proper heating system maintenance:

  • Always have a professional service your systems. Don’t try to make repairs yourself unless you know what you’re doing. Generally, it is best to have your heat system inspected well before cold weather sets in. That way, you have time to make the necessary repairs.
  • Change your air filters in the home as needed. This can often help the system function better by removing accumulated debris.
  • Remove debris from around all heating systems. This should include cobwebs, leaves and dust, ashes and any particle pollution. These items might become flammable in the right conditions.
  • Have chimneys and fireplaces cleaned to remove debris and soot accumulation. If you use gas fireplaces, ensure that this system functions properly and has a low risk of leaking.
  • Check the electrical wiring of every heating source. This should include space heaters, electric blankets, heating pads, generators or other items. Do not use items with frayed or sparking connections. If you begin to notice smells or see smoke, immediately disconnect the items.
  • Do not place flammable items on sources of flame or heat. For example, don’t place clothes directly onto the fireplace to warm them. Only place them outside of protective screens.

Always keep a quick source of fire intervention near your heating system. This might include a fire extinguisher, sand bags and emergency shutdown valves. Of course, the best way to prevent heating system problems is to keep the systems in good working order.

If you have heating system damage, contact your insurer to see if they will cover the cost of replacement. Depending on your policy, your agent will tell you if you can file a claim. Contact us for a Oklahoma City home insurance quote at (405) 373-2977,

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