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Winter heating safety tips

Posted on: December 13, 2011

We’ve been surprisingly lucky this winter with warmer temperatures, but one thing is sure – that’s not going to last! If you haven’t done so already, you’re probably getting ready to turn on your heating system in preparation for the long winter ahead. Now, it’s no secret that more home fires occur during the winter than any other season. Fortunately, with a little care you can prevent almost all of them! Follow these tips to keep your home safe from fires this winter, whether you’re using a furnace, a fireplace or a space heater!

Furnace Safety Tips

  • Have your furnace inspected annually by a James A. Wheat & Sons furnace inspection technician to ensure that it is in good working order.
  • Make sure all furnace controls and emergency shut offs are in proper working order.
  • Keep the area around your furnace, particularly the burner area, clean and unobstructed.
  • Never store anything combustible within six inches of your vent pipe.
  • Make sure you keep all (or almost all) of your vents open at all times. Closing more than 20% of the vents will result in high resistance and unnecessary heat buildup in the furnace.
  • Do not store combustible materials, such as paint thinners or gasoline, near your furnace.

 

Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

  • If you start to smell gas, turn off the gas valve leading to the fireplace as soon as possible and call James A. Wheat & Sons for fireplace service.
  • Never operate your gas fireplace without the glass securely in place. When using gas logs, make sure the glass doors stay open.
  • Watch for any discoloration of the fireplace glass or the surrounding walls or mantel – this indicates a potential gas leak.
  • If your pilot goes out, relight it. If it goes out repeatedly, call James A. Wheat & Sons! We’ll take a look at it and figure out how to fix it.
  • Don’t try to increase the gas pressure to “get a better flame” – you’re likely to end up with an explosion!
  • If you want to replace your gas logs, call James A. Wheat & Sons! We’ll install your new gas log so it meets manufacturer specifications for log placement, secondary air and venting.

 

Space Heater Safety Tips

  • Keep all household combustibles, including paper, clothing, drapery, etc. at least three ft away from your space heater.
  • Don’t try to use space heaters as the primary heating method in your home – use them only for supplemental heat.
  • Never plug space heaters in using extension cords.
  • Check your space heater’s wire before you plug it in to see if it is frayed or damaged in any way. If it is, do not use it – the chance of dangerous sparking (or full on combustion) is extremely high.
  • If the plug your heater is connected to gets too hot, have that outlet replaced by a qualified technician.
  • Don’t use your space heater in damp environments like the bathroom unless it is specifically designed for use in those areas.

 

Other Winter Fire Safety Tips

Never use your oven as a supplemental heating system – not only does this present a potential fire risk, but it can also introduce toxic fumes into your home.

If your pipes freeze, don’t try to thaw them out with an open flame, as the heat could be conducted down the pipe ignite the walls. Instead, use hot water or a hair dryer to melt the ice.

From all of us at James A. Wheat & Sons, be safe, stay warm and have a happy holiday season!