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HOW TO Prevent Heating Fires in Your Home

Posted by Hannah Barney

Now that we are officially stepping into those colder months of the year, it’s a great time to re-evaluate your home heating usage. Is your home primarily heated by your furnace, your fireplace, your space heater, or a combination of these? Each combination of heating methods creates some possibility of heating fires.

Every home calls for different set of heating needs, but it is important to use caution when using alternative or supplementary heating methods to your main heating system. Heating fires are one of the main causes of home fires – but they’re also something you can prevent for your household!

Your 6 steps to prevent heating fires in your home this year:

  1. Be aware of the flammable items (and their placement) in your home.
    a. Common Household Flammable Liquids: Paint, Oil, Nail Polish, Hair Spray, Carpet Cleaner, Gas, Perfume
    b. Common Household Flammable Materials: Paper, Clothing/Fabric, Furniture
    c. Keep these items at least 3 feet away from any of your heating systems (furnace, portable heaters, fireplaces, etc.)
  2. Make sure to only use best practices for portable/space heaters.
    a. Do NOT use if the heater has a frayed or damaged cord.
    b. Plug the heater into the actual outlet, NOT an extension cord.

    Dog Laying by Space Heater

    Oh no – he’s a little TOO close to the heater!

    c. Warn your family about getting too close to the heater, including keeping an eye on your pets!
    – Never leave the unit unattended. Always turn off before going to sleep or leaving your home.
    d. Use them sparingly, not as a primary source of heating. The heater cannot and should not run for hours at a time.
    – Purchases one with a built in auto shut-off. Should it tip over, the heater will automatically power down.

  3. Get your fireplace ready for the cold front.
    a. Make sure to have it cleaned and inspected once a year by specialist.
    – Remove the ashes from your home, they should be at least 10 feet from your house or any buildings. If you have any questions, ask your specialist to help you with disposal.
    b. Invest in a glass or metal fire screen that will catch sparks and rolling logs. This will keep your family both warm and safe.
    c. For fireplace usage: Remember to only use only wood not liquids to start fire AND avoid using this fire to burn trash. You never know which item will turn your small fire into something more dangerous.
    – And again, never leave your fire unattended. Always extinguish your fires before leaving your home or going to sleep.
  4. Keep up your furnace maintenance.
    a. Getting your furnace cleaned and checked once a year will help to ensure your unit is safe for your home use.
    – Having a well-functioning furnace ensures you will not need to completely rely on your supplementary heating methods.
    b. Keep materials away from your unit. Making sure your unit has room to breathe will allow for the system to properly function, as well as for the technician to work on it if necessary.
  5. Inspect smoke alarms.
    a. Check out every one of your smoke alarms and replace batteries as necessary. There should be an alarm in each bedroom and at least one on each floor of your home.
  6. Familiarize your family with your home fire escape plan and remind them about dangers of fire.
    a. Keep matches, lighters and other fire creation materials well out of reach
    b. Teach your children not to play with fire.
    – Repeating the messages with your loved ones year after year will help reinforce the safe behavior even into the days where they will able to reach the top shelf!

We hope that you found our preventative checklist to be helpful and we wish you and your family a happy and safe heating season!


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