Home Heating Safety Tips

When temperatures plummet, a lot of us hurry inside where it’s warmer. But with the increasing costs of home heating fuels and utilities, homeowners are searching for alternate sources for home heating.

Alternative Heating Solutions

Installing fireplaces and space heaters are ideal solutions. However, they may lead to residential fires. Thankfully, many of these fires can be prevented by following these quality safety tips.

Safety Tips for Kerosene Heaters

  • Your heater needs to be in good working condition. Check exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Make sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case it is knocked over.
  • Avoid using fuel-burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene or propane, for example) can result in deadly fumes.
  • ONLY use the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type of fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids, stored in properly designed metal containers, in well-ventilated storage areas outside of the house.
  • NEVER refuel the heater while it is in use or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel ,as it can expand in the tank as it warms up.
  • Refueling should be done away from the home. Keep young children a safe distance from space heaters—namely when they wear loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  • When using a fuel-burning appliance in the bedroom, ensure there is adequate ventilation to stop a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Safety Tips for Wood Stoves and Fireplaces

  • Ensure your fireplace or stove is installed properly, is in proper working order, and is of good quality and strong construction and design.
  • Wood stoves should have a certain amount of clearance (36”) from flammable surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Have the chimney inspected every year and cleaned if needed, 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 in the fireplace opening to stop embers or sparks from leaping out, hazardous material from going in, and help prevent 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 produce roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overstuffing the fire.
  • Never ignite charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can produce deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantle. A spark from the fireplace could promptly 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 closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If man-made logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log in smaller part to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They frequently burn unevenly, producing more hazardous levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot on or near seams could indicate a leak.
  • Check the chimney for any cracks or loose bricks and have a well-trained professional take care of any found.
  • All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.

Safety Tips for Furnace Heating

  • It is important that you have your furnace reviewed prior to 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 insured pros. Do not attempt repairs on your own.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling by 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 matter, but it also can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure 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 can 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 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 catch. Make sure that all the windows open fully. Home escape ladders are beneficial.
  • 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 located.
  • 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.
  • Get in touch with 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 352-236-0400 to schedule our industry-leading 26-point heating tune-up to get it running in tip-top shape again.