We finally have had some cooler weather in Central Texas and the Austin area this fall. Some areas have seen the first freeze of the year and with the cold weather brings the desire of Texans to stay warm. Many of us will pull out the sweaters and blankets in addition to turning on the furnace and maybe even lighting a fire in the fireplace. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice hot cup of coco with friends and family in front of the warm glow of a fire? 1st AC and Heating wants to make sure you are staying warm and safe this winter by providing some dos and don’ts for heating your home.
According to the National Fire Protection Association 79% of home heating deaths involve a space heater. While a space heater can be a good way to keep a space warmer and help reduce heating costs, they also can be dangerous. Here are some tips to help your family stay safe while using one this winter.
- Make sure to keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from a space heater. Furniture, curtains, and bedding can quickly catch fire. Statistically over half of all home heating fire deaths are a result of heating equipment being used too close to flammable objects.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from space heaters and other heating equipment. These items can be hot and may be easily knocked over by pets and kids.
- Always turn a space heater off when you leave the room.
- Never fall asleep with a space heater still on. If you are cold, it is much safer to put on another blanket.
- Place the space heater on a flat, level surface and away from an area where it may be knocked over.
- Do not use extension cords with the space heater. Space heaters use a lot of wattage that most extension cords are not equipped to handle. If your cord overheats it can ignite and start a fire.
- You should also make sure that the cord for the space heater is not damaged or frayed.
- Electric heaters should be kept away from water. You don’t want to be electrocuted. Never use one near a sink or in the bathroom.
- Your space heater should not be used as a clothes dryer. See tip #1.
- When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and is labeled by a nationally recognized company such as Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL). This label will let you know that the heating equipment meets safety requirements.
Other heating safety tips to remember this winter:
- You should never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
- Install smoke alarms in your home and make sure to test them monthly.
It is a good idea to have heating equipment and your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected by a qualified, trusted, professional on an annual basis.
1st AC and Heating wants to make sure your family stays safe and warm this fall and winter. If you have not had your heater inspected this year, give us a call. We will come out and make sure that the system is clean and running efficiently.