During the winter, homeowners need to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to fire safety and home heating. This applies to various heating sources, ranging from central combustion heating systems and fireplaces to wood stoves and space heaters.
Where fire safety and home heating are concerned, the National Fire Protection Association states that portable and fixed residential heating devices — a category that includes fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters — cause two-thirds of home heating fires and the same percentage of fire-related deaths. While central heating systems cause a relatively small percentage of residential fires, safety is no less important.
Fire Safety and Home Heating Tips
For central combustion heating…
• Always have a credentialed, professional HVAC contractor install new central heating equipment. Proper installation is imperative and should include great care with venting and the exhaust flue or chimney.
• Schedule annual HVAC maintenance. The technician will clean all components and test and adjust parts of the system. He’ll look at the exhaust venting and the ductwork to make sure everything’s set up correctly. These steps will improve fire safety, as well as system efficiency and performance.
• If your furnace uses fuel oil or propane, make sure the tank and lines have been inspected for leaks.
For fireplaces and wood stoves…
• All chimneys should be inspected yearly to make sure they’re not blocked by creosote and other materials. The chimney technician will use a video camera to examine the chimney lining and ensure it’s not cracked or missing mortar between sections. When this happens, flames and exhaust gases, including carbon monoxide, may escape the chimney and get into your home’s structure.
• Follow basic fireplace and wood stove safety tips, including never disposing of hot ashes near the home. Always use a metal or glass spark screen in front of the fireplace, and never use lighter fluid or other igniting liquids to help start a fire. Follow basic safety rules for space heaters, too.
For other fire safety and home heating tips, please contact Griffith Energy Services, Inc. We proudly serve Maryland, Delaware, Northern Virginia and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region.
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