Articles Tagged with “home heating”


 
Home heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in Massachusetts. Because half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February, now is the time to consider if you are heating your home safely.

The most important step is to make sure your smoke alarm has working batteries. Also, have your home heating equipment checked and serviced by a qualified professional each year. They can identify problems and clear any debris in your chimney or vents. Any obstruction increases the chance of fire and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal. Other ways to protect your family and home:

Space Heaters
Space heaters cause 33 percent of all home heating fires and 81 percent of home heating fire deaths, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If you have an older model, consider purchasing a new one with an automatic shut-off feature. Also, search for your model on the Internet to make sure it has not been recalled. The best resource is the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Use space heaters on even surfaces and always keep them three feet away from combustibles, such as bed spreads and clothing. Also keep children and pets at least this far away.

Do not use an extension cord and use space heaters on a flat surface where they will not tip over. Remember to turn it off before you go to sleep or if you leave the room.

No Overloaded Electrical Outlets
Be careful not to overload electrical outlets. Space heaters draw a large amount of electricity. Shift around appliances if you think you may be overloading an outlet.

Keep Vents Clear
Monitor your indoor and outdoor heating vents throughout the winter. When it snows, clear your outside heating vents even before you shovel your driveway.

Wood, Coal and Pellet Stoves
In Massachusetts, you need a building permit to install wood, pellet or coal burning stoves and fireplaces. They must be inspected by a local building inspector prior to use.
Last year, there were over 800 fire incidents in Massachusetts involving chimneys, fireplaces and woodstoves. Many result from a build-up of creosote, a by-product of burning wood.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use your heating equipment. Do not use flammable liquids to start a fire. For fireplaces, check that the damper is open before starting a fire so there is not a build-up of smoke and carbon monoxide.

Use the fireplace screen to prevent flames and sparks from moving outside the fireplace and causing burns and injuries. Do not close the damper until the fire is fully out.

When finished, dispose of ashes in a metal ash can and keep it outside your home and garage. Also keep it away from porches and decks.

Cooking
Make sure you have proper ventilation before you start cooking. Do not use grills inside your home.

Related:
Heating fire safety: Wood Stoves, Space Heaters and Fireplaces, U.S. Fire Administration.
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smokedetector_blog.jpgOn Sunday, Nov. 6, we turn clocks back an hour as Daylight Saving Time ends. The change from Daylight Saving Time is an important reminder to protect our family and homes by checking and changing the batteries in our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning are great concerns as the cold weather arrives and residents make their home heating decisions. Each year, more than 150 people in the United States die from accidental non-fire related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This poisoning is associated with consumer products, such as furnaces, stoves and water heaters.

Even more people die each year in fires. In 2010, 3,120 people were killed while another 17,720 suffered fire-related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Four out of five civilian fire deaths occurred in the home. These statistics make your work to prepare your home for the winter especially important.

Smoke Alarms: Massachusetts requires a smoke alarm be installed on every habitable level of a residence as well as the basement floor.

There are two types of smoke alarms, photoelectric and ionization. Effective April 5, 2010, only photoelectric smoke detectors are to be installed within 20 feet of kitchens and bathrooms with showers. These alarms are less sensitive and the goal is to reduce nuisance alarms that cause people to disable devices. Both photoelectric and ionization alarms are required in all other areas.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Since March 31, 2006, residences have been required to have working carbon monoxide alarms on every habitable level of the home or dwelling unit. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that results from incomplete burning of fuels. The first symptoms of poisoning are similar to the flu and include headache, fatigue and dizziness.

The requirements for meeting the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector laws can be met with separate units or with smoke alarms that have carbon monoxide detectors.
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