Home Heating Safety
|The latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association say that heating equipment is involved in most reported U.S. home structure fires.
Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016, accounting for 15% of all reported home fires during this time. These fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage.
Here are some safety tips to help keep your home safe while you keep it warm for everyone inside:
General Heating Safety:
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions in installing, operating, and maintaining your heating appliance.
- Don't use outdoor heating devices inside an enclosed space.
- Ensure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are properly working at all times.
- Keep children and pets away from supplementary heating appliances.
Portable Space Heaters
Space heaters are the main culprit. Whether portable or stationary, space heaters accounted for 82% of home heating fire deaths. One of the most dangerous things you can do is put a space heater too close to things that can burn (such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses and bedding).
- Keep portable heaters 3 feet away from combustible items.
- Always place portable heaters on flat surfaces and plug directly into the wall, not an extension cord.
- Always turn off the heater when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Burning with wood is a great way to heat your home but there is a lot to cautious about to ensure a safe winter. Fireplaces and wood stoves need ongoing maintenance and cleaning to ensure they burn efficiently and safely.
- Only burn seasoned fire wood to lessen the creosote build up.
- Chimneys and heating systems should be inspected, cleaned and repaired each year before use.
- Always use a sturdy metal fire screen to contain sparks.
- Keep combustibles at least 3 feet from the fireplace.
- Clean out cooled ashes and place in a metal container with a tight fitting lid.
- Keep the lid on the container to prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) from escaping into the room.
- Dispose of ashes into your trash only after they have cooled enough where you can put your hand in and touch all the ash without burning yourself.
Central Heating systems (gas)
Home heating systems can be a very efficient and safe way to keep your home warm in the winter. But like with all appliances, they need maintenance to ensure proper operation.
- Have your system serviced as per the manufactures suggestions for preventive maintenance.
- Change the filter regularly to prevent dust build up.
- Keep 3 feet clear around the heating unit. Typically in the garage. Prevents adjacent items from catching fire and allows for proper air flow around the unit to run efficiently.
- If you smell GAS, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LIGHT THE APPLIANCE. Leave the area and call 911.