Stay Safe & Warm This Winter with These 5 Home Heating Tips

Stay Safe & Warm This Winter with These 5 Home Heating Tips

By Franklin Mutual Insurance
Posted in Home Tips, Weather Safety
On November 04, 2022

As we enter the colder months, you may seek creative ways to reduce your heating bills, especially with oil and gas prices fluctuating. But when it comes to home heating, safety should always be your top priority. We put together these home heating tips to help you stay safe and warm all winter long!

Give your space heater some space 


Space heaters can help warm the colder areas around your home efficiently. Unfortunately, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that fixed or portable space heaters were involved in 44% of all home heating fires. Even worse, 81% of home heating fire deaths were attributed to stationary or portable space heaters.

Most of these home heater fires are preventable by taking these necessary precautions:

  • Create a three-foot perimeter around your space heater, keeping it away from furniture, curtains, clothes, blankets, and of course, pets and children.
  • Only plug one appliance into an outlet. If your space heater is plugged in, don’t plug any other appliances into that outlet.
  • Keep an eye on your space heater and turn it off when leaving a room. Also, stay awake when using it.
  • If your space heater uses fuel, always use the appropriate type of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer.

Also, check your smoke alarms once a month. If something does happen, you will be alerted to the danger and can promptly exit the home.

Get your HVAC or furnace serviced

Make sure to always get your furnace serviced before winter. This way, you can make sure it’s working efficiently, and there are no safety hazards. If your home service professional notices an issue, take care of it right away.

Also, change air filters as required. You can find how and when to do this by reading your furnace’s owner’s manual or asking your home service professional. Generally, filters need to be replaced every three months, but some units require a replacement every month. Changing your air filters when necessary can keep your unit working efficiently, properly, and most importantly, safely.

Take care of your chimney


Jolly elves aren’t the only reason you should take care of your chimney. According to the NFPA, one of the leading factors contributing to home heating fires is a failure to clean the chimney. You can easily avoid this situation by getting your chimney inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional yearly. It’s best to do this in September or October before you begin to use your chimney for the season.

Also, make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent embers from flying into your living space. If they fall onto any flammable surfaces, such as blankets, rugs, couches, or even you – a home fire can occur and spread quickly.

Likewise, make sure all ashes are cool before placing them in a covered metal container. The container should be kept at least 10 feet away from the home and nearby buildings, or flammable items, such as a deck. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Finally, douse and saturate the ashes with water.

Check (or install) carbon monoxide detectors


You should never use your oven or stovetop to heat the house. These units are not designed

to heat your home and can create dangerous situations, including home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly, so prevent this gas from harming your family by using appropriate heating equipment to warm your house.

Also, make sure the furnace’s exhaust vent opening is kept clear of all items, including snow, ice, branches, and other debris. (A blocked vent can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or even a fire.) If you notice the top of your chimney or exhaust vent is blocked, call a qualified professional to rectify the situation.

Third, install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home and check them monthly along with your smoke alarms. This way, you and your family will be alerted if carbon monoxide is present.

Only use qualified professionals to install your equipment

If you need to replace your heating equipment this year, hire a qualified professional to do so. A qualified professional should know the local codes and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install your equipment. This can help to prevent any dangerous situations that may occur if the heating equipment is installed incorrectly, such as a home fire, carbon monoxide formation, and more.

Once the heating equipment is installed, make sure it’s vented to the outside to avoid additional problems.

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