When the weather gets colder, we turn to heating equipment to keep our homes warm. While everyone is anxious to get their units running, it is important to keep in mind that heating equipment is consistently the #1 cause of house fires during the winter months.
Simply put, space heaters need space. Be sure to leave at least 3 feet of space between a space heater and furniture or other combustible items. Be sure to teach children to avoid space heaters. The surface of a heater can reach temperatures greater than 500 degrees.
These devices are meant for use as temporary heating devices and should have a limited amount of use each day.
-Space heaters should never be plugged into extension cords. If the plug on the space heater is damaged, it should not be used.
-When this item is not in use, it should be left unplugged.
-Never use a heater to dry clothing or other combustibles.
-Never leave a space heater running while you are not home or asleep.
If you plan to use your fireplace during the winter months, you should have your chimney and vents inspected and cleaned. There are many dangers in using a chimney that has not been properly maintained, so make sure your chimney is cleaned whenever necessary.
Before using your fireplace for the first time in the season, check that the flue is open and that there are no other obstructions. Obstructions will cause carbon monoxide to flow back into the house and build up. Fireplaces -Never use pressure-treated wood in a fireplace.
-Never leave a fireplace unattended.
-Burn wood only. Never burn paper items or pine boughs in a fireplace as burning particles from these items may float up and catch your roof on fire.
GAS OR ELECTRIC FURNACES
Gas or electric furnaces that have not been used for several months most likely have a build-up of dust and dirt on heating elements. When first being used for the season, this might cause a burning odor and/or white haze. This is not dangerous and will go away after a few uses.
**However, if the smoke turns black or the furnace starts to rumble, exit your home immediately and call the fire department.**