Safety Tips for Heating Equipment
Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February, and trails only cooking equipment in home fires year round. With chilly weather starting to come our way, heaters and fireplaces are starting to be put in use. Here are some safety tips to consider.
- When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory.
- Install your stationary (fixed) space heater according to manufactures instructions or applicable codes or better yet have it installed by a professional.
- Plug your electric-powered space heater into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
- Keep an area of three feet in circumference around your space heater clear of any combustibles.
- Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is unoccupied.
- Portable space heaters are so easy to knock over in the dark that they should be turned off when you go to bed, but make sure your primary heating source is sufficient to avoid risks to residents from severe cold.
- Never use your oven as a heating source.
- In your fireplace or wood stove, use only dry, seasoned wood to avoid the build-up of creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire and accounts for most chimney fires and the largest share of home heating fires.
- Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start the fire.
- Do not use artificial logs in wood stoves.
- Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from your home.
- Make sure fuel burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed, and that the exit point properly sealed around the vent, all of to make sure deadly carbon monoxide gas does not build up in the home.
- Inspect all heating equipment annually, and clean as necessary.
- Test smoke alarms monthly; install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.