Heating Safety Tips to Get You through the Texas Winter
If you’ve been in Dallas for the past couple of months, the drop in temperature means that we’re finally experiencing what other parts of the country call a winter. February is one of the coldest months for Texas. Even though the conditions are mild compared to last year, cold weather can take you and your home by surprise if you’re not prepared.
It’s easy for Metroplex homeowners to forget about their homes’ heating equipment for most of the year. However, just like any other home system, it needs to be checked for safety issues and serviced on a consistent basis. Each year, fires from furnaces, space heaters and fireplaces are reported on the local news, and in some instances they could have been avoided if precautions were taken.
Earlier this month, a recall was issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada to remove 223,600 gas furnaces sold from 1995-2000. The recall includes the Coleman, Coleman Evcon and Red T brands, which are responsible for nearly 400 safety incident reports. If you own a furnace, check the brand name and model number in the Safer Products database. If your furnace falls into a recalled category, work to get it removed from your home.
To maintain the efficiency of a furnace – keep these tips mind:
- Check to make sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs function properly
- Use a qualified furnace repair technician.
- Furnaces use disposable or permanent filters, so change or clean them regularly.
- Remove any obstructions that may block the vent pipe of your furnace.
- Have your furnace thermostat checked and replace if needed.
- Examine the walls and ceiling around your furnace. You might need to add piping or insulation if it is hot or shows signs of discoloration from heat.
You can find more information by reading this guide provided by the United States Fire Administration.
Space Heater Safety
Space heaters are convenient and effective heating devices. Their portability is beneficial when you want a localized heating source, either at home or in the office. However, these high-powered machines have drawbacks that can short circuit a power system or start a fire.
If you own a space heater or are looking to purchase one, remember that they can produce an intense amount of heat. Depending on the unit’s power source – electricity is the most common – energy output is anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 Btu per hour. It may not feel especially hot, but if you’re not careful they can lead to deadly consequences.
Approximately 500 people die annually in fires started by space heaters according to the National Fire Protection Association. Many of these incidents are preventable if you follow a few simple guidelines:
- Ironically, space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from clothes, paper, furniture, electric cords and anything else that can burn.
- Space heaters shouldn’t be left on overnight or unattended.
- Look for those with auto shut off and tip-over switch features.
- If you use a fuel source, like kerosene or propane, the fumes need to have an outdoor outlet.
- Do not use space heaters to dry clothes.
- Keep children and animals away from space heaters.
Every home should have a working smoke detector as your second line of defense against a fire. It is also suggested that you create an escape route if a fire does occur.
We don’t like hearing or reading stories about furnace or portable heater fires because so many of them can be prevented. We have a trained team of service technicians who can inspect your home heating system and give you the assurance everything is in a safe, efficient working condition. For a free estimate, contact us today!