Heating Season and Fires
Every year as temperatures dip, the number of fire responses increase. Heating appliances, while making winter more pleasant, present hazards that should not be take lightly. Caring for your heating appliances will help to ensure safe and effective operations. Following are some recommendations for keeping your family safe during heating season.
Forced Air Furnaces
- Maintain your furnace for safety and operating efficiency by scheduling an annual checkup by an HVAC professional.
- Keep furnace registers free of lint and dust.
- Change filters at regular intervals. If you can't see through it when holding it up to a light, it needs replaced.
- When installing filters, be sure to reinstall the filter access panel/door correctly. This will protect against possible injury or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Refer to your owner's manual for correct panel position and required maintenance.
Electric Space Heaters
- Avoid lint build-up by vacuuming regularly.
- Keep children away from the grill, as it gets very hot.
- Avoid fires by keeping rugs, furniture, and combustible items away from the heater.
- Maintain an open space from the heater for proper air flow.
Propane/Gas/Kerosene Space Heaters
- Most unvented fuel burning heaters are unsafe for use in enclosed spaces. This includes garages with the door up.
- Poor operation can result in an accumulation of hazardous fumes (CO).
- Unless a propane/gas/kerosene space heater has enough air from an outside vent or an opening window, all of the oxygen in a room can be used up, resulting in illness or death.
- The flames in these heaters are not fully covered, and can cause fires.
- Have fireplaces, wood stoves, and chimneys professionally inspected and cleaned annually..
- Keep the area around the hearth clear of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
- Always use a metal mesh screen over fireplace openings, and leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
- Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
- Keep air supply inlets on wood stoves and fireplaces open. Restricting them can cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
- Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.
- Avoid using flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Use only seasoned hardwood since soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
- Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
- Avoid burning cardboard boxes, trash, or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
- When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
- Always have a person attending an in-sue fireplace, and extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home and garage.
- Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
- Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
- Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
- Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.