With the chill of winter, everyone seems to be blasting their heat or huddling around the fireplace. However, these sources of warmth can also be a source of fire danger. Fireplaces, heaters, and furnaces can all create a risk if fire safety precautions are not taken. We broke down some important safety precautions to take to help prevent winter heating fires this season.
As a rule of thumb, keep anything that is flammable, or can burn, at least 3 feet away from any heating system. This includes clothing, upholstered furniture and bedding. Space heaters are one of the most common causes of heating fires. If you do choose to use a space heater, be sure to keep it away from cluttered areas or areas of high foot traffic.
Also, if you have small children or pets, you may want to consider putting a fence or barricade at least 3 feet around the furnace or space heater to prevent accidents or burns.
You should make sure to have your oil furnace inspected by a qualified and licensed professional annually to ensure there are no potential problems. A poorly maintained furnace could result in a puffback. This occurrence spews oily soot throughout your property creating a significant mess to cleanup. Having your oil furnace checked out before you use your heater for the first time in the winter is a great way to help prevent costly soot damage resulting from puffbacks. It also helps ensure it will be working properly all winter long.
Also, you should be sure to check your chimney is clear and does not have any structural damage. Chimneys should generally be inspected once a year, before burning season starts, to check for blockages or damage that could affect proper ventilation.
Fireplaces are a great way to keep warm during the winter, but they can be potentially dangerous if you aren’t taking proper precautions. Check that your fireplace has a protective screen installed so stray sparks do not escape into your home. If you have carpet or rug in front of your fireplace, this is especially important, as sparks can potentially start a fire. Also, clean out ashes from previous fires before burning a new one, as old ashes can produce smoke that can cause build up in your chimney and create dangerous ventilation issues.
You should never leave a lit fireplace or space heater unattended. Be sure to fully extinguish the fire and turn off your space heater at night. You should also have a working fire extinguisher on hand and reliable smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in case of emergency.
If you’ve suffered a fire in your home or business and need remediation services, contact us today at (603) 641-6555. Our expert team is available for emergencies 24/7/365 and is committed to providing an effective and thorough clean up to get your home or business back to pre-loss condition.