Home Heating Safety Tips

When temperatures fall, a lot of us hurry inside to stay warm. But with the rising costs of home heating fuels and utilities, some folks are hunting for alternate sources for home heating.

Alternative Heating Solutions

Using fireplaces and space heaters are some preferable solutions. However, they may lead to residential fires. Thankfully, many of these fires can be prevented by adhering to these useful safety tips.

Safety Tips for Kerosene Heaters

  • Your heater has be in good working condition. Take a look at the exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Ensure the heater has an emergency shut off in case it is knocked over.
  • Never use fuel-burning appliances without appropriate room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene or propane, for example) can create deadly fumes.
  • ONLY use the fuel suggested by the heater manufacturer. NEVER utilize a fuel into a unit not designed for that type of fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids, safe in adequate metal containers, in well-ventilated storage areas apart from the house.
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is working or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene model, watch out for overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel ,as it could expand in the tank as it heats up.
  • Refueling should be done apart from the home. Keep young children a safe distance from space heaters—namely when they have on loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  • When using a fuel-burning appliance in the bedroom, ensure there is enough ventilation to stop a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Safety Tips for Wood Stoves and Fireplaces

  • Ensure your fireplace or stove is installed correctly, is in proper working condition, and is of good quality and strong construction and design.
  • Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and sturdy floor support and protection.
  • Have the chimney checked annually and cleaned if required, especially if it has not been on for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen within the fireplace opening to keep embers or sparks from leaping out, unwanted material from going in, and help decrease the risk of burns to occupants.
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 1530 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to produce roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overstuffing the fire.
  • Never combust charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can result in dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials apart from your fireplace mantle. A spark from the fireplace could quickly ignite these materials.
  • Before you turn in for the might, make sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with lit ashes in the fireplace.
  • A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will pull toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If artificial logs are used, adhere to the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log into pieces to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Take a look at the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot stuck to or near seams could indicate a leak.
  • Check the chimney for any cracks or loose bricks and have a well-trained professional repair any found.
  • All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.

Safety Tips for Furnace Heating

  • It is crucial that you have your furnace checked prior to each winter season to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to certified experts. Do not attempt repairs without any help.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, further pipe insulation or clearance may be necessary.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other Fire Safety Tips:

  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Store them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety matter, but it also can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, try not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords that have the needed rating to carry an amp load.
    • TIP: Pick an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they might come in contact with water.
  • If your water pipes have frozen, NEVER try to thaw them with a blowtorch or other open flame. The pipe might conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Instead use hot water or a device like a handheld dryer for thawing.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should catch. Ensure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are beneficial.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant snow-free so in the event it is needed, it can be found.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it each month.
  • Develop and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Reach out to your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety

If your home's furnace isn’t heating properly, call us today at 321-452-3553 to schedule our industry-leading 26-point heating tune-up to get it running in tip-top shape again.