Hints & HELP!
from Heaters and Fireplaces
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the February
1, 2004 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.
temperatures dipping into the lower teens, keeping warm
is a top priority. Many families turn to extra heat by using
space heaters. Safety is very important when selecting and
using additional heating methods. During this season there
have been at least 51 deaths from fires started by heaters
and fireplaces. In a recent year, there were about 10,900
residential fires and about 190 deaths associated with portable
or fixed local heaters. There were 15,500 fires and 40 deaths
associated with fireplaces and chimneys. And there were
about 100 deaths from carbon monoxide from heating systems,
ranges/ovens and water heaters. The Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) offers the following safety tips for space
heaters and fireplaces.
Choose a heater that has been tested to the latest safety
standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing
laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date
safety features, while older space heaters may not meet
the newer safety standards. CPSC worked to upgrade industry
standards for electric, kerosene, and vented and unvented
gas space heaters. An automatic cut-off device is now
required to turn off electric or kerosene heaters if they
tip over. More guarding around the heating coils of electric
heaters and the burner of kerosene heaters also is required
to prevent fires.
Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface,
not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep
the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture,
or other flammable materials.
Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using
an unvented fuel-burning space heater. This helps prevent
pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Follow
the manufacturer’s instructions to provide sufficient
combustion air to prevent carbon monoxide production.
Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never
place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
Turn the space heater off if you leave the area. Keep
children and pets away from space heaters.
Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house
because it could overheat or generate carbon monoxide.
a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the
house and inside every bedroom. In addition, have a carbon
monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping
aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating
equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired equipment
should be used.
Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually
to ensure proper operation.
Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating
season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.
Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and
keep it open until the ashes are cool. This will avert
the building up of poisonous gases, especially while the
family is sleeping.
Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to
light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode.
Never keep flammable fuels or materials near a fire.
Keep a screen or glass enclosure around a fireplace to
prevent sparks or embers from igniting flammable materials.
Make sure your family is safe this winter. Every home
needs working smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide alarm.
If you already have these alarms be sure to check them
each month to see that they are in working order.
to Household Hints & HELP