Christmas should be a time of joyous celebration with family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also the most common time of year for home fires. With home heating fires being the leading cause of home fire deaths in Oklahoma, it’s especially important to remain vigilant this winter.
In fact, “Space Heaters are the Second Leading Cause of Fire Injury or Death” in Oklahoma!
That last thing you want for your house full of guests is a surprise house fire. To make sure you have a safe and happy holiday season, we’re making a heating safety list and checking it twice!
Heating Equipment Safety Tips
- Keep anything that could burn at least 3 feet away from any open flames or heating equipment, including space heaters, furnaces, candles, stoves, and radiators.
- Blow out candles and turn off heating equipment before leaving the home or going to bed.
- Never use your oven to heat the home.
- Always blow out candles and unplug portable space heaters when not in the room. Never leave candles or space heaters unattended, especially if there are children around.
- Never hang clothing or any other fabric over heating equipment or lamps, whether for faster drying or mood lighting. Make sure everyone in the home know not to place combustible items near space heaters, lamps, lights, candles, radiators, heating vents, and other heat sources.
- Before using your holiday decorations or space heaters, always inspect the cords for damage and corrosion. If there are loose connections, exposed wires, fraying, or anything else, don’t use them! Have these wires professionally repaired or replace them with new ones.
- Never use an extension cord with your space heaters. Always plug them directly into an outlet.
- Don’t overload your electrical circuits. Check your manufacturer instructions, but normally only 3 sets of lights are allowed to be strung together.
- All furnace repairs should be made by a professional.
- Turn off the gas at the main valve, don’t ignite anything (including turning on or off lights and electrical devices), and leave the area immediately if you smell gas. Call your local gas company from a separate location.
- Never store flammable liquids, such as paint thinners, gasoline, or cleaning products near any heat sources.
- Never use your grill, or any other fuel-burning appliance indoors. You could risk carbon monoxide poisoning!
- Speaking of carbon monoxide, make sure you test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms every 30 days. Replace them if necessary!
- Make sure your fireplace or wood stove has a sturdy screen to keep sparks from flying into the room.
- If you are have space or wall heaters that use propane or natural gas to function, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure there is adequate ventilation. Without proper air circulation and supply, you could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If your heater has a pilot light, make sure it is functioning properly. If you have to keep relighting it, call a licensed technician for professional service.
- If you smell gas or any other fumes, feel dizzy, notice a yellow or flickering pilot light, turn off the heater immediately and do not turn it back on again until a professional says it’s OK.
Finally, if you haven’t scheduled professional chimney and heating maintenance in the last 12 months, now is the time to do so! It’s best to hire a qualified professional to inspect your heating equipment in the fall before the winter months, however, better late than never.
Your HVAC professional will make sure that harmful combustion gases are ventilated properly and that your heating system is safe and efficient until next year.
Watch these videos from ESFI, FEMA, and NFPA for more holiday and heating safety information:
For more furnace and heating equipment safety tips and advice, see our other blogs on the topic:
For tips on how to save money and make your home more efficient this winter, read these blogs:
- Furnace Winterization Checklist
- How to Seal Air Leaks Around the Home
- Fall Home Maintenance To-Do List
- HVAC Maintenance Checklist
If you haven’t had your heating equipment inspected yet, we recommend signing up for our Maintenance Plan for FREE tune-ups and 20% discount on all repairs.
Call us anytime for 24/7 service with NO OVERTIME CHARGES: (405) 794-8900.
Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season!