Baby, it’s cold outside. And it’s just going to get colder.
Most modern homes are equipped with electric furnace HVAC systems, but as heating bills have risen over the last decade, more and more North Carolinians are turning to alternative sources of warmth. They’re purchasing space heaters, firing up wood-burning stoves, and lighting fireplaces — all cozy methods of heating, for sure, but when not attended to properly, these can also lead to residential fire. And well, that’s not something anyone wants.
Mind these tips, and keep your home safe from fire this winter.
Kerosene Space Heater
- First, make sure the heater is in good working condition. Check for carbon buildup on the exhaust, and make sure you know where to find the emergency shut off, just in case.
- Only use fuel-burning heaters in a properly ventilated room.
- Never ever use propane in a kerosene heater, nor vice versa.
- Kerosene and other such flammable liquids produce toxic fumes, and should be stored in metal containers, in a well-ventilated storage area, outside your home.
- Never ever fill the heater while it is turned on, and don’t use cold fuel. Turn the unit off, allow it to cool completely, and take it outdoors for refilling.
Wood Stoves And Fireplaces
- First, make sure the stove or fireplace was installed correctly. Wood stoves require at least 36 inches of clearance from combustible surfaces.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned yearly.
- Never ever use any kind of flammable liquid to start a fire in your fireplace or wood stove.
- Place a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace after the fire is lit. This will keep embers and sparks from flying out of the hearth, thus protecting you, your family, and your home from burns.
- Wood stoves should be burned twice a day — for 15–30 minutes at a time — to prevent excessive buildup of creosote, a wood preservative made from coal tar.
Have Air Handlers OBX inspect your furnace yearly to ensure that it remains in good working condition. When you hire our certified HVAC experts to perform routine maintenance on your heating system, the minor issues never turn into major problems.
General Fire Safety
- Never ever discard hot ashes inside your home. In a metal container, and outside is where they should always be stored.
- Never ever use your stovetop or oven as a heating device.
- Never ever use electric space heaters in the bathroom, or where there may be contact with water.
- There should be a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Check the batteries in each, and then check again monthly.
- Be prepared in the unfortunate event of fire in your home. Plan and practice a family escape plan.