Heating systems are in full swing in the home during the cold seasons, but have you ever thought about the risks involved? The truth is that most people skip this question; after all, it’s all about getting warm.
However, despite their apparent innocence, the newspapers are full of accidents in which an elderly couple or a family with small children die from gas poisoning or a fire caused by a stove.
You should not take the risks of heating systems in your home lightly.
Table of Contents
Home heating systems
Heating systems play a very important role in homes. However, like everything else, they need to be maintained, in most cases on an annual basis. In addition, you must comply with some safety measures for each type of heating system.
1. Gas stoves
This is one of the most used heating systems in most homes. Improperly handled stoves can be hazardous. Some of the hazards associated with them include the following:
- Poisoning or fire due to hose breakage, leaving stove valves improperly closed, or even poor positioning of the gas regulator.
- For those who use gas cylinders, in addition to those mentioned above, other reasons for danger may be poor posture or leakage of the gas.
Some symptoms that you should associate with gas leakage
Butane gas is odorless; therefore, a compound called methyl mercaptan is added to it to give it an unpleasant and unmistakable odor. But there are occasions, remote, where this hydrocarbon does not have this characteristic aroma and, therefore, it is not possible to detect a leak. However, there are some symptoms that can be linked to it.
- Headache: this is the most common symptom that occurs after dense exposure to a toxic agent.
- Irritation of the nose and nasal mucous membranes, as well as difficulty breathing.
- Do you have children at home? Pay attention when they say: “Mommy, I feel sick, I feel like throwing up”. Children are more sensitive to pollutants.
What to do in the event of a gas leak?
The best measure to prevent potential risks from heating systems from materializing is prevention.
- The use of a mixture of water and soap is very useful to detect leaks in hoses or gas valves. The method consists of placing a little of the liquid in the areas of potential hydrocarbon loss. Observe if bubbles form, this will be the indication that there is a leak.
- Ensure frequent maintenance of your stove to guarantee its good operation. To do so, hire the services of a professional.
- Provide a good air flow in your house before gas, kerosene or wood heating sources.
2.- Stoves and electric radiators
Radiators are becoming more and more frequent and electric stoves less frequent, possibly because of the safety they provide.
In any case we are handling an electrical appliance and there can always be risks in its handling.
- Electrocution. It may be due to a fault in the wiring of the stove, in the socket.
- Somewhat less likely is a factory fault in the appliance or a water or oil leak, little noticeable, in a radiator.
Precautions to take
- Do not cover its radiating screen with any object, newspapers or fabrics are prone to generate fires.
- Do not connect the stove to an electrical extension cord, since these are prone to generate short circuits if its use is prolonged.
3. Central heating with gas or oil boiler
Heating systems in homes must be certified, so their installation and maintenance must be carried out by a certified professional. The certifying body will depend on each country.
The recommended temperature for heating is between 21 and 23 degrees and humidity should not exceed 50%. Keep in mind that exceeding these values will mark a big difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature, which will be counterproductive for people.
The most common risks of central heating are:
- Accumulation of noxious gases. When burning fuel such as gas, wood, kerosene and kerosene, for example, good ventilation must be provided. Otherwise, the gases emitted by the aforementioned fuels will accumulate and these, in concentrated quantities, are toxic and sometimes lethal.
- Infections, cough or constipation as a result of the humidity that heating produces in the environment. It is recommended to ventilate the place for half an hour and to try to let the sun rays enter, since they fight the formation of the mites.
4. Wood or pellet fireplaces
Fireplaces are very beautiful decorative elements that stylize their surroundings and go very well with any trend. However, if they are not cared for properly, they can be the cause of fatal damage.
The risk of poisoning is minimal, but the danger of contact burns and fires is not. The latter risk is very high, especially if you have curious children in the house.
What to do to reduce the potential risks of fireplaces?
Don’t be overconfident, in a home you should always be on the lookout for any sign that something is going wrong. This rule includes chimneys, whatever their type.
- Both the flue and the combustion chamber, in the case of wood-burning fireplaces, should be cleaned regularly to keep them clear and in good shape.
- The chimney should have adequate protection for pets and children, thus minimizing the risk of accidental contact.
- Periodic checks should be made to ensure that the ductwork is in optimal condition and the working chimney is not damaging the structural elements of the house.
Heating systems could be dangerous
Heating is quite useful in winter; who can imagine going through that season without its help? Probably no one. However, heating systems could generate a number of risks if precautionary measures are not taken, such as checking for any gas leaks or electrical problems.
Consider that, despite appearing to be working well, if you do not check it carefully, you could be putting your life at risk.