It gets cold in winter. And the cost of fuel keeps going up. That’s why many families are using alternative methods for keeping the house warm and comfortable, and at the same time saving some money.
Heating methods can include wood stoves, fireplaces and space heaters. They work, as long as they are used properly. Not handling them correctly is a major cause of household fires in winter.
Here is a look at best practices to prevent fires and carbon dioxide poisoning, as well as what types of alarms to install.
Staying Safe with Alternative Heating
Use alternative heating sources the way they were intended. It all starts with proper installation. Then use the right fuel and treat them carefully.
Fireplaces. Fireplaces are more than bricks. They need to be constructed to exacting standards to be safe. When you use it, make sure you keep a screen in front of it to catch shooting sparks and embers. This also stops unsafe material from landing in the fireplace.
Always keep your fireplace mantle clear of flammable materials. It is so easy to let it be catchall for clutter, souvenirs and photos. It is simply too easy for these to catch fire from stray embers and sparks.
If there are hot ashes in your fireplace, then you need to keep the damper open. Let the ashes cool down before closing it. Get rid of the ashes in a safe metal container.
Wood Stoves. Wood stoves are popular. They let family members heat water and they give any room a rustic touch. But they aren’t a do-it-yourself project. These devices need to be installed by professionals.
The right amount of clearance between a wood stove and combustible materials and surfaces is at least 3 feet. It needs floor support and protective materials. Local building codes spell out what is required. The chimney should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
Space Heaters. Before you set out your space heater each winter, be sure to inspect it closely. Is the cord frayed? Is the housing cracked or damaged? Are the plugs broken? Get problems repaired before you plug the unit in.
Check the exhaust components for signs of carbon buildup. Make sure you know where the emergency shutoff is if the heater tips over.
Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away from the heater. This includes paper, furniture and bedding. Never use an extension cord with a space heater. Plug it into an outlet that has the proper electrical capacity.
If your unit burns fuel, make sure the room is vented properly. Fumes from damaged heaters can build up, causing fires, sickness and even death. Use the right kind of fuel, the type specified by the manufacturer.
Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide poisoning is always a danger during winter months. It is
also one that can be prevented. Called the silent killer, it sneaks up on families because you can’t smell it, taste it or see it.
A person’s age and health impacts how strongly he feels the first effects of CO poisoning. Beginning symptoms include dizziness, headaches and fatigue, sometimes nausea and disorientation. Eventually a person becomes unconscious and dies.
You can avoid the problem with these preventive measures:
Getting Out If a Fire Starts
Every room in your house needs its own smoke alarm. Test them once a month. The best setup is connecting all of the alarms throughout the house. That way, when one goes off, they all go off, providing the most effective warning system.
If the alarm doesn’t go off, it does you no good. So be sure to change the batteries once a year. Schedule it on New Year’s Day or another holiday, to make it easy to remember.
Don’t stop there. Install alarms made to detect carbon monoxide poisoning just outside of every bedroom.
Since 1944, San Diego homeowners, commercial property owners and property management companies have trusted Emory for all their heater needs. We guarantee and stand by our work no matter how big or small the job may be. As a previous customer or a new customer, we guarantee you will be happy with our professional representatives/ technicians from start to finish. Why be cold another day or night? Call today and speak with a representative about having your heater serviced or replaced today.