Now that temperatures in Carbon County have dropped and winter is just around the corner, its time to turn our attention to basic heating appliance maintenance and safety. We rely on our heating appliances to keep our homes warm and most of them will function flawlessly for years if we have them service regularly.
If you haven't had your heating appliances serviced this fall, now is the time to make sure they are in proper working condition for the long winter months. In Price City our incidents involving structure fires have dropped drastically over the past four years. We believe it is because our residents have made fire prevention a priority, but don't be lulled into thinking we are always safe. Fire prevention takes constant vigilance and remembering some basic home heating appliance safety and maintenance points may help.
Have your natural gas or LPG furnace cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional.
Replace the filters regularly.
Don't store combustible items near your furnace, maintain at least a 3' clearance.
Ensure there is enough air flow to your furnace for adequate combustion. If you are unsure, contact Questar or a licensed heating/cooling contractor.
Purchase a Carbon Monoxide detector and install it in your home and change the batteries regularly.
Coal/Wood burning stoves.
Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a licensed contractor. Many older homes have masonry chimneys which have degraded over the years. This can lead to a house fire if the chimney is not fixed properly.
If you choose to burn coal in your stove, make sure your appliance is rated for the higher temperatures which coal produces. Coal can burn at temperatures which are nearly double that of wood products.
Make sure there is enough clearance between the stove and combustible materials, including floors, walls, and ceilings.
Place the stove on a noncombustible, fire-resistant base.
Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood. This helps to prevent creosote buildup, which can lead to a chimney fire.
Place a screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from escaping onto the rug or furniture.
Have a pair of heat-proof gloves and fireplace implements ready in case you have to pick-up a red hot ember that has fallen out of the stove or fireplace.
Keep the fireplace damper fully open when the fireplace is in use. This also helps to prevent creosote buildup on chimney walls.
Dispose of ashes properly after they are allowed to cool and placed in a closed metal container outside and away from the home.
Don't start a stove or fireplace fire with flammable fluids, such as gasoline.
Don't leave your children unattended near your stove or fireplace.
Don't burn pressure treated wood, painted wood, drift wood, particle board, plywood, plastic, magazines, colored paper, gift wrap, cardboard, or garbage.
Don't use artificial logs in wood burning stoves; they are intended for fireplaces only.
The sad fact is that local fire departments responded to numerous fires, carbon monoxide instances, and injuries which were caused by neglecting these basic safety precautions. Take a few moments and ensure your heating appliances are safe; we don't want the ghosts of Christmas fires past to ruin you holiday season by a preventable fire.