With the cold winter weather on the way in Maine, it’s important to check your home heating systems to be sure they are maintained properly and in sound condition. Here are some easy to follow safety tips to keep in mind for ensuring a safe and happy home for you and your family this winter.    Have Your Furnace Checked  Make sure you contact a professional heating contractor to get your furnace checked thoroughly, at frequent intervals. Doing this will allow you to have some peace of mind regarding the efficiency of the heating system. Be sure to explain the exact problems to the professional, if there are any. This will help him solve the problems better and faster.   Clear the Furnace and Vents  Be sure there are no rags, old newspapers, cardboard boxes or any other kind of flammable materials near the heating system before you start any repairing activities. You should also clean the vents thoroughly. If the ventilation system of the heating unit is not maintained properly or the airway is blocked, the furnace can cause a large blaze, leading to a dangerous situation. Make sure any kind of object, which is flammable, is kept at least three feet away from all the different heating equipment that you have at home. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters.   Clean the Chimney  If the heating system at your place has a chimney, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned at least once a year. If it’s not in regular use, there are high chances that you suddenly discover a small animal, with its nest, residing in your chimney. Consider contacting a heating contractor if you think that it’s not possible for you to check the chimney on your own.  However, be sure to clean the chimney before you use it for the first time this winter.   Turn Portable Heaters Off  Be sure to turn off the portable heaters before going to sleep or going out. It doesn’t really make sense to keep the heater on when you are not indoors. At the same time, you won’t be able to notice if there is a fire hazard when you are sleeping. Make sure you use the home heating systems properly and turn those off when these are not being monitored. This will help you ensure complete security for your home.    Follow General Heating Safety Rules  Apart from keeping the home heating system in a sound condition, it’s also essential to follow some general heating safety rules. For instance, you should never use an oven to heat your home. Also, be sure to use the correct fuel, which has been specified by the manufacturer, in case...