When temperatures fall, most of us remain inside where it’s warmer. But with the increasing costs of home heating fuels and utilities, homeowners are hunting for alternate sources for home heating.
Alternative Heating Solutions
Using fireplaces and space heaters are popular solutions. However, they may lead to residential fires. Thankfully, a lot of these fires can be prevented by using these useful safety tips.
Safety Tips for Kerosene Heaters
- Your heater has be in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Ensure the heater has an emergency shut off in case it topples over.
- Never use fuel-burning appliances without quality room venting. Combusting fuel (coal, kerosene or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
- ONLY use the fuel approved by the heater manufacturer. NEVER utilize a fuel into equipment not designed for that type of fuel.
- Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids, secured in appropriate metal containers, in well-ventilated storage areas apart from the house.
- NEVER replenish the heater while it is running or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene model, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel ,as it can expand in the tank as it warms up.
- Refueling is safest when handled away from the home. Keep young children a safe distance from space heaters—namely when they are wearing loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
- When using a fuel-burning appliance in the bedroom, ensure there is enough ventilation to minimize a buildup of carbon monoxide.
Safety Tips for Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
- Ensure your fireplace or stove is installed correctly, is in proper working order, and is of good quality and solid construction and design.
- Wood stoves should have enough clearance (36”) from vulnerable surfaces and robust floor support and protection.
- Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if required, especially if it has not been running for some time.
- Do not use flammable liquids to ignite or accelerate any fire.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in the fireplace opening to keep embers or sparks from falling out, unwanted material from going in, and help decrease the potential 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 a great deal of paper to create roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
- Never combust charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can produce deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Keep flammable materials a safe distance from your fireplace mantle. A spark from the fireplace could quickly ignite these materials.
- Before you turn in for the might, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER seal your damper with lit ashes in the fireplace.
- A sealed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will pull toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
- If artificial logs are used, stick to the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to speed up the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing increased levels of carbon monoxide.
- Inspect the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot stuck to or around seams could be evidence of a leak.
- Check the chimney for any cracks or loose bricks and have a certified professional repair any found.
- All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
Safety Tips for Furnace Heating
- It is vital that you have your furnace checked at the start of each winter season to make sure that it is in good working shape.
- Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
- Leave furnace repairs to certified specialists. Do not attempt repairs without any help.
- Inspect the walls and ceiling close to the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, further pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
- Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
Other Fire Safety Tips:
- Never get rid of 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 concern, but it also can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
- If you use an electric heater, don’t overload the circuit. Only use extension cords that have the needed rating to carry an amp load.
- TIP: Choose 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 may 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 may conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure in 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 appear. Ensure that all the windows open fully. Home escape ladders are encouraged.
- If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant free of snow 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 on a monthly basis.
- Develop and practice a home escape plan with your family.
- Contact your local fire department for more information if you have a question on home fire safety
If your home's furnace isn’t heating properly, call us today at 386-427-1665 to schedule our industry-leading 26-point heating tune-up to get it running in tip-top shape again.