Winter is a season when people spend more time indoors. However, it’s also the time of year when house fires are more common due to the increased use of heating sources. As a homeowner, it’s essential to understand how to heat your home safely, allowing you to enjoy a warm, comfortable indoor atmosphere without the risk of fire. Here are a few tips on using heating sources correctly to avoid fire and injuries.
How to Heat Your Home Safely This Winter
1. Electric Heaters
Electric heaters are convenient and cost-effective sources of heat. However, they can be dangerous if not used correctly. Keep your space heater away from flammable items such as curtains, carpets, and furniture. Always plug it directly into a wall outlet and never use extension cords; this could cause overheating and start an electrical fire. Finally, don’t leave electric heaters unattended; turn them off when you leave the house.
2. Heat Your Home Safely with the Fireplace
The sound of crackling wood and the warm glow of a fireplace feel enchanting on a cold winter night. But a fireplace can also be a fire hazard if not handled carefully. Have the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once a year. This service will verify the chimney is free of leaves, animal nests, and creosote buildup that can ignite when heated. Always use a fireplace screen or door to prevent hot embers and sparks from escaping into the room. Never leave a fire unattended, especially if you have pets or small children.
3. Wood Stoves
Wood stoves are an efficient and cost-effective heating source. However, they also pose a risk of fire if not maintained. Have the stove and chimney inspected and cleaned every year by a professional. Use only well-seasoned hardwood as fuel, and maintain a clean firebox to prevent buildup. Keep combustible materials at least five feet from the stove, and never use it as a drying rack for clothes or towels.
Furnaces are a common heating source in many homes. Like any mechanical system, they need maintenance to perform efficiently and safely. Replace the air filter every 30 to 90 days or as the manufacturer directs. Have a licensed technician inspect the heating system yearly to verify it’s clean and functioning optimally. Make sure nothing is blocking the ventilation system and that all vents and registers are open and working correctly.
Stay comfortable in your home when the temperatures drop. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using heating sources, and if you’re unsure, consult a professional. You can enjoy the winter months without the risk of fire by taking steps to heat your home safely.