Fire Safety Tips for Winter Heating Season

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By Marcus Fernandez
Florida is known for its temperate climate and favorable winters. Still, the occasional cold snap can have us grabbing coats and scarves and turning on a rarely used heater. The truth is, whether you live in a relatively warm climate like ours, or one of the coldest places in the country, you want your home to be warm and cozy no matter what is going on outside your front door. While you’re making a plan for winter heating, stocking up on firewood, or making your home more energy efficient, it’s also essential to put fire safety at the top of your list.


Fire safety Florida style

Fire safety is important no matter how you heat your home, but it is even more critical if you plan to use alternative forms of heat. So before you add wood to the fireplace or break out that space heater, consider these fire safety tips.

Reduce the Need for Additional Heat

If you want to reduce the risk of fire from external heat sources, start by addressing your heating needs. Something as simple as adding extra insulation to the attic or closing off rooms you are not using could reduce the amount of heat your home requires.

That will help reduce winter heating costs, allowing you to spend more on home improvements and less on electricity. The more energy efficient your home, the less you will need extra heat during these coming winter months.

chimney fireHave Your Chimney and Fireplace Inspected

A fireplace can keep your home warm and cozy on those cold winter nights, but without the right safety precautions that fireplace could also burn down your house. If you plan to use your fireplace this winter, even a few times, have it inspected now before the temperature drops.

A certified inspector can check out your fireplace and ensure it’s working correctly. After all, it’s easier to enjoy a roaring fire when you don’t have to worry about the safety of your home and family.

Check for Blocked Vents and Outlets

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless, gas with deadly consequences. If you have a gas heating system in your home, check to ensure that all vents are unblocked and outlets undamaged. A blocked vent could seal harmful gases such as carbon monoxide in your home. 

To prevent potential poisoning, carefully inspect your home’s ventilation before firing up the heater for the first time. Additionally, If you use a gas heating system, invest in a carbon monoxide detector now. It will alert your family if it detects high levels of carbon monoxide in your home, allowing needed time to escape safely. 

Read the Safety Instructions Carefully

While we may not need them too often, space heaters can provide a temporary and local source of heat in cold months. If you plan to use external heat sources like space heaters, be sure you know how to use them. Read the instructions carefully, with particular emphasis on the safe use of the appliance.

Keep operation manuals in a safe place, so you can refer to them when needed. It is easy to forget safety precautions once the winter is over, and it never hurts to give you and your family members a refresher course.

Create a Clear Path Around Space Heaters

Space heaters can keep your home warm and cozy, but safety is an important consideration. If you plan to use space heaters this winter, make sure they have an emergency shut off. The space heaters you choose should be designed to shut off automatically if they tip over, and you should test them to make sure those safety features are working.

Even if the space heater has this safety feature, you need to keep the path around the appliance clear. Never place clothes or other flammable objects near the space heater, and maintain a clear path on all four sides. Only last week, we saw a local family tragically lose their home due to a space heater being too close to a bed. Thankfully, there were no injuries in the fire.

Be proactive by checking surrounding furniture for excess heat. Space heaters can get pretty hot, and they can damage the finish on nearby pieces of furniture or even spark a fire.

Winter – yes, even our Florida winter – can pop up without warning. Now is the time to get ready! If you want your winter to be warm, cozy and safe, you need to take the right precautions today. From choosing your space heaters wisely to having your fireplace inspected, the steps you take now can have a profound impact on the safety of your home and family.