Heating a home in winter is one of the most natural things to do, but it doesn’t come without risks. Home fires occur more in winter than in any other season due to heating devices that being used improperly. Here are fire safety tips to keep in mind when cranking up the heat during winter:

Wood-Burning Appliances

  • Before firing up a wood stove or fireplace, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned.
  • Flammable objects should be kept at least one metre away from a wood stove or fireplace.
  • Flammable liquids must never be used to start or accelerate a fire in a fireplace or wood stove.
  • A glass or metal screen should be kept in front of a fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from flying out into the surrounding area.
  • When building a fire in fireplaces, only a small amount of paper can be used. Otherwise, the fire may ignite the creosote in the chimney.
  • The fireplace fire must be completely extinguished before going to sleep.
  • Before closing the fireplace damper, the ashes must be cool. Closing the damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force carbon monoxide into the home.
  • Individuals who use synthetic logs need to follow the directions on the package. Only one synthetic log should be used at a time.
  • Cooled ashes should be discarded in a tightly covered metal container that must be stored outside and away from the house.

Gas Furnace

  • Gas furnaces should be inspected by a professional to ensure that it’s in good working condition.
  • The walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line must also be inspected. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation may need to be installed.
  • The flue pipe and pipe seams must be well supported and without holes and cracks. Soot along or around seams may signal a leak.
  • Combustible items must be kept away from the heating system.

Other Fire Safety Tips

  • Portable generators should be kept outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from the home to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Ranges or ovens must never be used for heating. Not only is it a safety hazard, but it can also be a source of carbon monoxide.
  • Only one electric heater should be plugged into a wall outlet at a time to avoid overloading the circuit. Alternatively, it is ok to use extension cords of the same size or larger than the heater’s electrical cord.
  • Electric heaters should not be used in bathrooms or other areas where water is frequently used.
  • Thawing frozen water pipes with a blow torch or other open flame is not recommended. The pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space.
  • Families should regularly plan and practice a fire escape plan.
  • Emergency escape ladders can be used to exit through windows in case the primary escape route is blocked.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near the home, it must be kept clear of snow to help the fire department locate it in case of a fire.

As it is critical to be fire smart when using heating devices, here are more home heating safety tips and tips to prevent appliance fires. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.