Each year, there are numerous reports submitted that suggest home heating is not as safe as we would like to believe – it has been known to cause thousands of residential fires, hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in damage. When it comes to ensuring that your home and family are safe during the winter, it is important that you have taken into account the dangers that heating poses and that you have worked to counteract them wherever possible, otherwise you could become just another figure.
When the weather first starts to cool down, it is important to note that you haven’t used your gas or electric home heating for some time so there will be a buildup of dust and dirt in the system. This may cause a slight burning odor or a light haze of white smoke; this is nothing to panic about and will dissipate after you have used your system a few times. If black smoke starts to pour out of your heating, however, you will need to evacuate the building and call the fire brigade for assistance, as this is a sign of Fire hazard.
If you use a fireplace as your primary form of heating, on the other hand, you must make sure that the flue is open prior to using it for the first time this winter (this is the trap door that is used to keep cold air out when the fireplace is not in use). You can make sure that the flue is open by looking up the chimney to see whether daylight is filtering through or not. You will also need to be careful of the material that you are burning in your home, as pressure-treated wood is known to be poisonous.
Other Safety Tips:
- The use of space heating units requires that you have plenty of legroom – at least 3 feet (or 1 metre) of clearance from everything inflammable – and needs to be turned off before leaving the room.
- Make sure that you look for the tick of approval from an independent testing lab before you purchase a new heater or any components for your system and have a qualified professional install them.
- Get an annual inspection and cleaning undertaken on your home heating by a qualified professional. It is best to have this done just as the cool weather is starting to set in, but can be done any time.
- Only place new fuel into your heaters (if required) when they are cool and in well-ventilated areas that are free of open flames. You should never use another fuel in place of the one intended.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions before turning the heating on and off, especially if this is the first time you have used the system. Never attempt to use the system without reading the manual.
By making sure that you are using your home heating system appropriately and that you have paid heed to all of the tips and instructions we have supplied above, you can help to prevent the occurrence of fires and injury this winter. If you don’t believe that the number of residential fires, deaths, injuries and damage is as much as we have outlined here, you should contact your local fire brigade and ask them about the number of homes they have attended due to an accident associated with heating systems.
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