It’s Time for Heating Safety
Keeping You Safe this Winter
Now that we are getting into the coldest portion of the year, it is important to know how to stay safe when properly heating your home. Some people may not realize that heating safety is very important, from the proper way to use your fireplace to proper furnace and radiator maintenance. During the months of December, January, and February fires caused by heating homes are at an all-time high. Nearly half of all home-heating fires occurs during these three months. So with that in mind, let’s get to some safety tips.
First, let’s start with space heaters. Space heaters are great when using for short periods of time. Some people will put them in their basements, living rooms, and bedrooms as they can easily heat up the spaces they are in. However, it is important that you are always keeping your eye on the space heater. Never fall asleep with it on—anything can happen during this period of time, and once you get into a deep sleep horrible things can happen. And building from this, if you leave the room or the house, even for a couple of minutes, make sure to turn off the space heater. You would never leave a candle on when you left your house, so you should never do that with a space heater. Also, keep a three-feet radius around your space heater; three feet away from the wall, curtains, furniture, blankets and anything else that is flammable. Also if you have young children and or pets, make sure they say three feet away at all times. Another safety precaution is the emergency shut-off. Some manufacturers will put an emergency shut-off feature in their heaters so that if it were ever to tip over, it would automatically turn off. A heater that has tipped over could possibly start fires due to objects like blankets, carpets, rugs, and curtains, so it is important to be extremely careful in these situations. Also never plug your space heater into a power strip, wall outlets only. One last thing, if you happen to have a space heater that takes fuel, whenever refueling it, make sure it takes place outside of the home. If there is any spillage, it is much easier to clean outside than it is in the home.
Next, we have fireplaces. They are a great way to heat your home, and who doesn’t love the sound of a crackling fire while you read a book? But before you start that fire, go over this checklist to make sure that it is safe. First, make sure to get your chimney inspected for lighting the first fire of the winter. You need to make sure there is a safe way for the smoke to properly exit your home. Secondly, make sure your fireplace has a proper screen to stop sparks from the fire from popping out. Make sure that when it closes, both of the screens are touching each other as much as possible so it can remain secure. Also, If you have young children, fireplace gates are a great way to keep them safe, also they can be extremely stylish. And just like with the space heater, never go to sleep or leave the home with a fire burning, and really double-check to make sure the fire is completely out. When the fire has gone out, wait for the ashes to completely cool off before discarding them. Only discard of the ashes using a metal container, never use plastic. If you do have a gas burning fireplace, make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector. The CDC has reported that more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. This is usually due to freak accidents since carbon monoxide is scentless. People will usually get flu like symptoms, and this is why the detector is so important. Approximately have to 20,000 visit the emergency room due to symptoms or the detector going off, and more that 4,000 are hospitalized. Make sure the batteries are tested every three months, especially before this portion of the season begins.
Your furnace and radiator will also need regular maintenance. Both need to be checked once a year, and the filter in your furnace needs to be changed every month during the winter. If you have radiators in your home, get covers for them so there is a minimal chance of someone being burned. A few other safety stops for heating your home include never heating your home using an oven, only one portable heater per outlet, also, make sure that you get your air ducts cleaned out once a year. The dryer in your home blows into it, which means that the lint that was not captured in your dryer is now in the air duct. Lint can be extremely flammable and the last thing you want is a fire in your air duct.