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The best defense when fending off Old Man Winter may be maintenance of your home’s heating system. But, if you decide to give alternative heating a try, make safety a top priority. The Institute for Business &

Home Safety (IBHS) suggests:

◊ Look for products tested by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

◊ Buy models with automatic shut-off features and heat element guards.

◊ Maintain a 36-inch clearance between the heater and combustible materials, such as bedding, furniture, wall coverings or other flammable items.

◊ Do not leave a heater unattended.

◊ Check every electrical cord for fraying and cracking. If one looks worn, replace it before using.

◊ Install carbon monoxide detectors in several parts of the house.

Other safety suggestions:

◊ Never use a kerosene heater indoors.

◊ Never use electric or gas stoves to heat the home. They are not intended for that purpose and can cause fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

◊ If using a wood fireplace, have it inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep.


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