Nothing feels better after being out in the frigid cold than coming inside to a toasty-warm home. However, the same heating equipment that keeps us warm can be dangerous if it isn’t used properly.
Home heating equipment is the second-leading cause of Massachusetts home fires (Massachusetts Department of Fire Services) and the third-leading cause of U.S. home fire deaths (National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)).
Read on to learn about 7 ways to alleviate the risk of a home fire to ensure your family stays warm and safe this winter.
1. Observe the 3-foot rule. Keep all flammable objects at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, including the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, and portable space heater. This 3-foot area is also a kid-free zone. 53% of all home heating fire deaths were caused by such things as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, and bedding being too close to a heat source, says the NFPA.
2. Don’t heat your home with your kitchen oven. There’s a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire when a kitchen oven is misused. After baking and the oven is turned off, leave the oven door ajar if you want to warm up by some of that heat and delicious aroma!
3. Always use a fully licensed and insured professional to install heating equipment. Heat pumps, gas and oil furnaces, and boilers should all be installed by factory-trained HVAC technicians so you can benefit from the manufacturer’s warranty and comply with all local codes. Customers talk about good contractors so ask around if you need to find one.
4. Properly maintain your heating equipment. Even brand-new, energy-efficient home heating equipment needs regular professional maintenance, as well as monthly visual inspections by the homeowner. If you use your chimney, a professional chimney sweep should inspect and clean it annually, according to the NFPA.
5. Turn off portable heaters! More than 2 out of 5 (43%) home heating fires are caused by portable heaters, reports the NFPA. Space heaters also cause 5 out of 6 (85%) home heating fire deaths. When you go to sleep or leave the room, turn off the heater.
6. Keep your fireplace safe. Always use a sturdy fireplace screen when you have a fire to stop sparks from popping out into the room. Afterwards, let ashes cool before putting them into a metal container to properly dispose of a safe distance from your home.
7. Install and maintain smoke and carbon-monoxide (CO) alarms. Place a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector near every sleeping area and the gas furnace, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Test the detectors each month, change the batteries every year, and replace the entire unit every 10 years, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
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If your question isn’t answered here, contact the friendly team at Genove Oil & Air, and we’ll find a solution for your home or business.