As the temperatures begin plummet residents of Carbon County rely on various types of heating appliances to keep their homes warm. Most heating appliances are designed to operate safely if properly maintained; however they can pose some serious risks if neglected. If you haven't had your heating appliances serviced yet, now is the time to make sure they are in proper working condition. Annual service and inspection of heating appliances can help you conserve energy and also save you hundreds of dollars in heating bills.
Here are some tips which may help you protect your home and family from a heating appliance fire.
Gas / Propane Furnaces.
*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 three foot clearance.
*Ensure there is enough air flow to your furnace for adequate combustion. If you are unsure, contact Questar Gas or a licensed heating/cooling contractor.
*Purchase a Carbon Monoxide detector and install it in your home. You should also change the batteries regularly.
Coal and wood burning stoves.
*Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional. Many older homes have masonry chimneys which have degraded over the years. This can lead to a house fire if the chimney is not functioning 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, insulated and fire-resistant base.
*Burn only firewood which has been thoroughly dried. Burning wood which hasn't dried thoroughly can cause creosote buildup in the chimney, which can lead to a chimney fire.
*Place a screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from escaping onto the floor, 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 place them 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.
Fire protection items.
All homes should have the following fire protection and safety items, regardless of the type of heating appliance they use.
*Carbon Monoxide Alarms.
It's important to ensure the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms are fresh and the devices are in proper working condition. These devices don't last forever and need to be replaced at the end of their usable life, which is generally 5-10 years depending on the type of device and the manufacturer's recommendations. It's important to remember that these devices are only warning devices and your family needs to develop and practice a home fire evacuation drill, so that everyone knows what to do when the device activates. Fire extinguishers should be checked at least once a year. There are numerous companies which are licensed to perform this service for you.
Best fire prevention.
Fire prevention is based on the premise that the best house fire is the one which never occurs.Take time to look throughout your home for conditions which may lead to a fire. Your local fire department can help you identify these potential fire hazards and most are willing to be of assistance if you will ask.