Cold weather is here, and you have probably fired up your home heating equipment to stay warm. But be cautious because home heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths. To prevent a heating-related fire in your home here are some essential tips that can save your life.
The two most common ways to heat homes are central heat and direct heat. Central heating systems include furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps. Direct heating equipment includes gas-fired space heaters, electric space heaters, wood-burning, and pellet stoves, and fireplaces.
Furnaces, Boilers, and Heat Pumps
- Schedule regular prevention and maintenance checks of your equipment by trained heating technicians. Preferably have your system inspected before the first use of the season.
- Usually, your system is in a closet or basement of your home. Before you fire them up, make sure items have not been stored around them.
- Boilers often require additionally qualified, specially trained and licensed technicians to fire up. Make sure your boiler technician has current license, training, and insurance.
- Replace your filter once a month or as recommended by your qualified heating technician.
- As with central heating equipment, schedule an inspection and cleaning of your chimney and fireplaces, and heating stoves before use.
- Keep fuel such as bedding, clothing, curtains or rugs at least three feet away. Keep children and at least three feet away to prevent burns.
- Never use your oven or outdoor grill or portable fire pit to heat your home.
- Never leave direct heating equipment unattended.
- Know the fuel you heater uses. And use the right fuel every time.
- And don’t forget to turn off heaters and put out any embers fireplaces and stoves when you leave the room and home.
- Never use unvented, or “vent-free” gas or kerosene space heaters indoors. If you have to use this type of equipment, make sure to keep a nearby window open for fresh air.
- Never plug your electric space heater into an extension cord. Always plug the heater directly into an electrical wall outlet.
- Never leave a space heater on overnight.
Fireplaces, Wood-burning, and Pellet Stoves
- When using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen that can catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Ashes should be cooled before placing in a metal container. Keep this container out and away from your home.
- Your fireplace and chimney should be inspected and cleaned every year. This is NOT a “do it yourself” task. Have a trained, insured professional inspect and clean your chimney.
- Also, make sure to check your smoke alarm batteries and fire extinguishers.
- If you do not have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector, get one. Often called the silent killer, CO poisoning has no odor or color and can cause death quickly.
- Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with your family.
- And have a home emergency kit. Here is how to build your home emergency kit.