Simple steps to prevent heating fires
In the United States, heating equipment is the leading cause of house fires. Nearly half of those heating fires occur in December, January and February. The winter months are clearly a crucial time to ensure fire safety, but what steps can we all take to help our homes not become a part of that statistic?
The 3-feet rule:
The first rule of fire safety is to make sure that anything that can burn is at least 3-feet away from any heat source. This includes cleaning products, cooking products, beauty products and laundry products. It is important to remember that you not only need to store these items away from heat sources, but you also need to be careful using these products on items close to heating sources. For example, next time you start to spray the sofa with that cleaning spray, consider how close it is to a heating source. Spraying a flammable liquid that close to a heating source can cause a fire, and praying the product on furniture can also cause the furniture to burn very easily if a fire starts.
Use your cooking stove to cook:
Using your oven to heat your home is a very common practice, but it is also a very unsafe practice. Using a gas stove to heat your home puts you at very high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is tricky because it doesn’t have a smell or taste so, you can’t tell it is seeping into your home until you start to notice side effects.
Using an electric stove to heat your home is also very unsafe. Although there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, there is a very high risk of causing a fire. Ovens are not made for heating a large space, so prolonged usage can cause your oven to overheat and catch fire. Ovens also use a large amount of energy to work. So using an oven will likely cost a lot more than using a space heater. For safer operation, an HVAC system with smart thermostat must be used.
Space heater safety:
Space heaters are a commonly used source of heat. While they are safer to use than an oven, there are still many things you should keep in mind to ensure they don’t cause a fire in your home.
- Only plug your space heater into a wall outlet by itself. Using an extension cord or a power strip which can easily overheat, is more likely to cause a fire. Also, plugging something else in the same outlet as a space heater can cause it to overheat and spark.
- Keep your space heater on a level surface and keep it off of anything flammable. The flat surface will ensure that your heater is in no danger of falling over, which can definitely cause a fire. Many surfaces that we do not normally consider a risk of burning can overheat and cause a fire. Some examples of surfaces that can overheat are carpet, tables, cabinets and counters. Always place your space heater on your non-carpeted floor.
- Always look over the space heater before use. Make sure there are no visible problems with the space heater or the cord. Any visible damage can mean a higher risk of fire. For more information about space heater safety check out: WWW.ESFI.ORG
Smoke alarm safety:
Finally, always make sure that your smoke alarms are working and ready to go in case of a fire. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly to ensure they are working properly. Every smoke detector has a test button, normally found right in the middle. Hold this button down for about 5 seconds, and then the alarm should go off. If there is no noise or the noise is not very loud, then you will want to replace your batteries.
Hopefully, this list will help keep you and your home safe. Yearly, home fire damages cost home owners a total of $1 billion in damages. For more home fire statistics check out the NFPA report: WWW.NFPA.ORG. Don’t allow your home to be a part of a home fire statistic call an expert to avoid HVAC fire hazards.