Home heating tips

Home heating tips

Hello, below are some useful home heating tips for the freezing winters!

Courtesy of the city of Dover

Tips for heating your home

With more cold weather in the forecast, many residents will turn up the heat at home. Fire Chief Eric Hagman reminds residents to keep safety in mind.

“Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths,” Hagman said. “Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.”

Here are some tips from Dover Fire and Rescue:

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
Never use your oven to heat your home.
Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
When using alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, make sure they are properly ventilated.
Always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home.
Improper use of heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Be sure to use a carbon monoxide detector when heating your home, including from sources such as pellet stoves, gas stoves, gas fireplaces, and oil or gas heating systems.

Hagman reiterates carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning due to poor or incorrectly installed heat sources account for a number of calls every year. Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.

Hagman adds that CO detectors can be purchased at most hardware and retail stores. If a CO detector activates, call Dover Fire and Rescue.

Here are some tips about CO detectors:

CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call Dover Fire and Rescue.
If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel declare that it is safe to reenter the home.
If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO – only use outside.