Your Protection Is Our Concern!
The season is upon is where one storm after another hits us all. If you haven’t already done so you might want to think about how you are currently heating your home. Often we just go along with whatever has been “working” for us, not really considering the potential consequences on our home and family.
So instead of the typical “here are the benefits of efficient heating” articles we normally post; this time we decided to focus more on YOUR SAFETY instead.
With the economy being what it is, it’s all too easy to “just get by for now.” We’ve outlined some equipment we often see home owners use, and we want to point out some things you definitely need to know to ensure your family’s safety.
The Safety Of You And Your Family Is Our Primary Concern!
- If you have young children in the home make sure they don’t have access to portable heaters, whether it is electric or fuel powered.
- Don’t burn anything larger than candles without good ventilation such as opening windows, doors and fireplace flumes.
- All heaters that run on fuel (natural gas, kerosene, butane, oil) should be well vented. The only exception to this rule is electric heaters.
- Never use the kitchen oven or stove top to heat your home. This is a fire hazard as well as a source of toxic fumes.
- "Space" heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
- If you are using portable electric heaters, never add them to an extension cord in use. Plug them directly into the electrical outlet alone. Problems start when you connect a portable heater and other appliances to the same circuit as it can cause a circuit overload.
- Before purchasing a portable heater, make sure it has "tip switches" in the appliance itself. These switches are designed to automatically shut off the heating unit in the event it tips over.
- Never refill a space heater while it is in operation or it is still hot.
- ONLY refuel fuel-heaters outdoors! Use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer, and follow instructions very carefully.
- Glass doors or a metal screens should be placed in front of your fireplace to prevent burnt ember sparks (hot ash) from igniting carpets, furniture, or other combustible items.
- Do not burn charcoal designed for barbecues indoors-not even in a fireplace or wood-burning stove; as it releases odorless, but extremely toxic, Carbon Monoxide fumes and can cause CO Poisoning Symptoms and even DEATH!
- Install smoke alarms that are equipped with a backup battery in your home. Make sure there are smoke alarms are on every level of the home as well as near every bedroom. Test your alarms monthly, and change your batteries at least once a year.
- Purchase and install a carbon monoxide alarm for your home. Make sure it is marked with the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) safety listing. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for placement in your home.
- Have one of our heating professionals perform a thorough safety inspection of your heating equipment in your home. Outdated, poorly maintained, misused, or damaged heating equipment can lead to a DEADLY disaster. It’s up to you to reduce the chance of becoming a fire casualty.
- Many people own wood-burning stoves. If you do BEWARE. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, wood stoves cause over 9,000 residential fires EVERY year. Before firing up your wood-burning stove this winter, make sure to check the following.
- Make sure it is constructed of solid material, such as plate steel or cast iron.
- Check legs, hinges, and door seals for smooth joints and seams. No cracks!
- Annually inspect and clean the pipes and chimney.
- Use only seasoned hardwood for fuel. Do not use green wood, artificial logs, or trash.
- Combustible objects should be kept at least three feet away from your wood stove.
And as always, if you are not sure please call us. We’ll be glad to help. We’d rather you didn’t use most of these heating sources. But, if you are going to anyway, please be as safe as possible. Remember: Short-term fixes are never worth long-term consequences. We want you around for a long, long time. Payment options are available today to help you get the most cost effective and energy efficient options available. So when you’re ready to upgrade, we’ll be there for you too.
These safety tips and more can be found at:
Check Your Hotspots, Department of Homeland Security United States Fire Administration. http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/all_citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/hotspot.shtm
Staying Warm in an Unheated House, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. http://www.umext.maine.edu/emergency/9022.htm link opens in new window
Winter Storm Fire Safety, Department of Homeland Security United States Fire Administration. http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/all_citizens/home_fire_prev/holidayseasonal/
winter_storms.shtm link opens in new window
Portable Generator Hazards, Consumer Product Safety Commission. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/portgen.html link opens in new window
Winter Storms: Safety Tips for Heating Your Home. http://texashelp.tamu.edu/011-disaster-by-stage/prepare/safety-tips-heating-homes.php