We’ve had another dip in temperatures, and more are sure to follow here in Houston. This means it’s time for the heat! Whether you use your central heating, fireplace, space heater, or a combination of these, there are important winter heating safety tips to follow.
Fireplace Heating Safety Tips
Whether you have a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace, there are many things to keep in mind when lighting a fire this winter.
For all fireplaces (or even wood-burning stoves), remember these key tips:
Never leave a fire unattended. Even if you think you will only be gone a moment, never leave a fire unattended. It could easily end in disaster.
Have your chimney inspected (and cleaned, if necessary) every year.
Be sure the flue to your fireplace is open, allowing the smoke and fumes to escape through the chimney.
Never burn garbage in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Keep flammable materials clear of the fire. A distance of three feet is a good minimum for flammable materials away from a fire.
Watch children and pets carefully around any fire.
For wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, remember to always used dry wood. Any wood that is wet will likely be very smoky if it will burn at all, and not all smoke will leave your home.
For gas fireplaces, there are also a few additional safety tips. Burning gas in your fireplace can work to deplete the oxygen in your home. Limit the use of gas fireplaces to and hour or two. Having sensors installed in your home for carbon monoxide can help you monitor the air in your home. If you would like to burn the fireplace for a longer period, consider cracking a window to replace the oxygen in the air.
Furnace Heating Safety Tips
We typically use electric or gas furnaces to heat our homes more regularly than other methods in this area of Texas. When a furnace is properly maintained, it can provide a safe, reliable way to heat your home. However, there are still heating safety tips to keep in mind when using your furnace.
Keep the area around your furnace clear. You may be storing those Christmas decorations in the attic, but give some clearance to the heater. You don’t want your favorite decorations to be what causes a spark and fire in your home!
Be sure you have proper ventilation for your furnace.
Perform annual maintenance on your unit.
Install and/or maintain carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Test smoke alarms for proper functioning.
Change your furnace air filter when dirty to prevent overworking your system.
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If you use a space heater for additional heat in your home, this section is for you! Whether you use an electric or gas space heater, be sure to remember these heating safety tips:
Remember that space heaters are not designed to be the sole source of heat for your home. They are simply meant to supply supplemental heat.
Plug space heaters in directly, without the use of extension cords.
Be sure the space heater is on a sturdy, flat, level surface.
Do not use electric heaters in bathrooms, kitchens, or other areas that may be wet or damp.
Check heater cords for any exposed wires or damage, and discontinue use if any damage is found.
Use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer for a gas space heater.
Properly heating your home is important to the health and safety of your home and your family. Following these heating safety tips can help you ensure you are doing all you can to keep your family safe this winter.