Home Heating Safety Tips

When temperatures fall, many of us hurry inside to stay warm. But with the high cost of home heating fuels and utilities, people are looking for alternate sources for home heating.

Alternative Heating Solutions

Installing fireplaces and space heaters are a couple of solutions. However, they sometimes factor in residential fires. Luckily, a large number of these fires can be prevented by using these useful safety tips.

Safety Tips for Kerosene Heaters

  • Your heater should be in good working condition. Check 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 quality room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • ONLY use the fuel suggested by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a system not designed for that type of fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids, safe in appropriate metal containers, in well-ventilated storage areas apart from the house.
  • NEVER refill the heater while it is working or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene system, watch out for overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel ,as it can expand in the tank as it heats up.
  • Refueling is best done away from the home. Keep young children back from space heaters—namely when they wear loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  • When using a fuel-burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure 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 shape, and is of good quality and strong construction and design.
  • Wood stoves require adequate clearance (36”) from flammable surfaces and sturdy floor support and protection.
  • Have the chimney inspected every year and cleaned if necessary, 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 stop embers or sparks from leaping out, hazardous 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 lower the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to start roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never ignite charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials a safe distance from your fireplace mantle. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
  • Before you turn in for the might, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER seal your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.
  • A shut damper will help the fire to heat up again and will allow 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 regularly 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 around seams can be an indicator of a leak.
  • Check the chimney for any cracks or loose bricks and have a qualified professional take care of 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 prior to each winter season to be 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 qualified experts. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
  • 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 dispose of hot ashes inside or near the home. Put 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 hazard, 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 could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure within 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. Be sure that all the windows open quickly. Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear 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.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Contact 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 (407) 917-1800 to schedule our industry-leading 26-point heating tune-up to get it running in tip-top shape again.