- Last Updated on 08:52 AM 10/10/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7-13, and I’m sure area fire departments are advising county residents to have everything checked out before lighting the furnace.
There’s a chill in the air and with it the start of the fall and winter heating season.
People are exploring ways to save money while heating their homes, and there are a number of options, including gas logs, oil furnaces, space heaters and the trusty fireplace.
Each has their advantages according to cost and convenience, but I’ve been to enough house fires at this time of year to know some of us may forget to have chimneys cleaned and furnaces checked.
I’m sure our volunteer and professional firemen would appreciate any help in reminding everyone to be extra safe this year.
The National Fire Prevention Association and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers offer some ways to save energy and ensure safety this heating season.
• Set thermostats at 68 degrees when the house is occupied during the day and turn it down to a recommended 60 degrees at night or when you’re not at home.
• Make sure supply and return vents, radiators and baseboard heating systems are not obstructed by furniture, appliances or other objects.
• Clean or change furnace filters in forced hot air systems once a month or more often as needed.
• Have your heating system maintained and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions
• Check heating ducts for air leaks from joints and holes
• Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating jacket according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
• Install caulking, weather stripping or use spray-in foams around exterior windows and doors or between heated and unheated spaces.
Fire Safety Tips
w Make sure space heaters carry the mark of an independent testing laboratory and have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician
w Keep or maintain a 36-inch clearance between all heating equipment and anything that can burn
w Portable space heaters should be turned off every time someone leaves the room or goes to bed
w Have any gas-fueled heating device installed with proper attention to ventilation
w Do not use an oven to heat a home
w Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other solid-fueled heating equipment inspected annually by a professional
w If power goes out, use flashlights and avoid using candles
w Make sure fireplaces have sturdy screens to prevent sparks from flying into the room
w Test smoke alarms monthly and install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area
Follow these tips for a safe and warm heating season.