Heating System Safety

Heating System Safety

Now that winter is here and the weather is cold we are using our home heating systems. All heating systems – furnaces, fireplaces, electric heaters, etc. pose potential dangers and should be used carefully.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths and half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. Place screens or other guards around fireplaces if you have very young children or toddlers in your home.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Creosote buildup in a chimney can prevent the fireplace from exhausting properly and also cause fires.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) monitors if you are using oil, wood or natural gas as a fuel source.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.