As the fall season approaches, now is the time for you to be thinking about the cold winter months. Your furnace may not have been a consideration since the end of the last heating season. Many people don’t give heating a serious thought until the first chill sets in. This practice can be more than just a financial issue if the furnace breaks down due to a lack of maintenance: it can lead to a potential fire hazard. One of the top causes of house fires comes from heating appliances. The potential for serious injury or death is increased because quite a number of these fires occur when the occupants of a residence are asleep.

General Safety Steps

No matter how you heat your home, the changing leaves should be a good reminder to take care of preparations to ensure the comfort and safety of you and your family.

  • Install smoke detectors on at least every level of your home and near your furnace if you don’t have them.
  • Consider smoke detector models that also have a carbon monoxide detector, if you burn fuel.
  • Change the batteries in existing detectors.
  • Purchase fire extinguishers and review the dates on old ones to see if a replacement is needed.
  • Make a fire escape and evacuation plan. Practice it with all occupants of the residence.

Readying a Furnace

Before it is time to fire up the furnace, you need to have an inspection and tune-up completed by a home heating service in order to ensure that the unit is working efficiently and safely. This includes:

  • Clearing any materials that are stored near the location of the furnace.
  • Changing the air filters, since dirty filters will negatively affect efficiency.
  • Testing the heating efficiency of the unit.
  • Checking the burner for proper combustion and acceptable carbon monoxide levels.

Wood Heater Safety

Due to the increasing prices of electricity, many households have sought less costly supplements or alternatives to meet their home heating needs. Wood-burning stoves have made a significant comeback in areas where wood supplies are free or where this type of stove is considered a bargain when compared to other heating sources. Heating with this fuel source requires a steadfast devotion to safety.

  • All flues and chimneys must be thoroughly cleaned to manage the accumulation of creosote and debris.
  • An annual inspection should also be completed if you use the fireplace or wood-burning heater often.
  • You should only use wood that is seasoned, since green wood burns unevenly and creates more smoke.

Electric Space Heater Precautions

A variety of portable electric heaters are available to heat enclosed rooms. Between 2008 and 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 1,200 fires were the result of these appliances. Space heaters use a high wattage of electricity, so caution needs to be exercised in their use:

  • Do not use a heater that is showing signs of defects. This includes melted cords or plugs that become hot while the item is in use.
  • Do not operate space heaters near combustible materials, such as clothing, curtains, bedding, etc.
  • Space heaters are not meant to be a primary heating source.

Everyone has an interest in preventing losses and claims due to fire. Give Integrity Network Insurance Group, LLC a call at 512-989-6006 to verify that you have the right Round Rock home insurance coverage and to receive helpful tips on how to keep your property safe during the winter heating season.

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