With winter in full swing, temperatures low, and home heating units in use, having your system serviced can be essential to staying safe and warm this season. December, January, and February are high-fire-risk months. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), heating equipment is the number two cause of home fires. Of those, 64% of home heating fires are due to a failure to maintain equipment and 27% are caused by close proximity of heating equipment to flammable items.
Because of these startling statistics, we wanted to provide some great heating-related fire prevention tips to avoiding accidental house fires and keeping your family safe, warm, and protected this winter.
Have your system maintained – Whether it’s once a year or twice a year, make sure you have an HVAC professional come out and service your heating system to ensure everything is working properly and any potential problems are identified and resolved.
Upgrade to a central heating system – If it’s within your home budget to upgrade your system, central heat is the safest option from a home-fire perspective. Short Pump Heating & Air provides multiple home heating options and can provide insight on what the safest, most economical type of system would be for you and your home
Annual chimney cleaning – Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, cleaning out your chimney annually helps prevent chimney fires. Sticky deposits, known as creosote, can build up along the walls and over a long period of time become highly flammable. Removing this will significantly lower your risk for a chimney fire.
Keep flammables 3 feet from heating equipment – Common household flammables often found by heating equipment include gasoline, clothing, paper, wood scraps, paint, bedding, drapery, and upholstered furniture. Be sure to provide at least 3 feet between flammable items and your heating equipment.
Turn off heaters – When you are heading to bed or leaving your home, be sure to turn off any space heaters or heating equipment.
Test smoke detectors twice a year – Be sure to check your smoke detectors throughout the house twice a year to ensure your safety in the event something catches fire.
Use space heaters responsibly – Never leave a space heater unattended, keep it on a level, non-flammable surface, and only plug these into GFI systems.
Have an evacuation plan – Sit down with your family and communicate an evacuation plan. Keep fire ladders in the upstairs rooms, identify where fire extinguishers are located and make sure your family knows what to do in the event of a house fire.