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Home Heating Safety Tips | How to Prevent Fire Hazards

Here in Calgary and Victoria, biting temperatures never seem to let up once fall hits. To survive our rough winters, you’re going to need an exorbitant amount of hot cocoa, a closet full of warm coats and hats, and some safety tips surrounding your home heating equipment. While the first two may seem like no-brainers, many homeowners often forget to consider the latter. Every year, thousands of homes catch fire due to improper use of space heaters, electric blankets, heating pads and furnaces. Homeowners are often faced with property damage, injuries and/or death as a result. You can help to prevent a fire from breaking out by following these simple home heating safety tips!

Space Heater Safety

A portable space heater is a convenient and effective way to stay warm on those cold winter nights while reading your favorite book or watching a holiday special with your family. Keep these tips in mind before you cozy up to your space heater:

  • Attached to your space heater should be a label indicating the appliance has been tested by a reputable laboratory, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). If there is no label, consider replacing it for good measure.
  • Always read the manufacturer’s guide and warning labels before using your heater.
  • Inspect your heater for loose, frayed and damaged wiring, and make sure the plug is in good condition. If you so much as second-guess the quality of your heater, replace it right away.
  • Never place your heater near furniture, curtains, rugs and the like. The rule of thumb should be a three-feet distance. Make sure it’s on a flat service and out of high-traffic areas, too, as it can easily be tripped over.
  • Always plug your portable heater directly into an outlet. Extension cords and power strips can overheat, which may lead to a fire. For added safety, don’t plug anything else into the outlet your heater is plugged into. When not in use, carefully unplug it and stow it away.
  • Space heaters are designed to keep people comfy – and only people. For your safety, don’t use your heater to warm your bed or your clothes, or to thaw your pipes.
  • Teach your kids how to properly use a space heater. Make sure they know not to get too close.
  • Make sure your home has adequate smoke detectors and that they’re working properly.
  • If you’re leaving the room, turn your heater off and unplug it. Never leave it running when it’s not in your line of sight, especially if you have a pet or child that is in the room.

Heated Blanket/ Heating Pad Safety

Electric heated blankets and heating pads offer quick relief and comfort on cold nights. They are also known to soothe aches and pains. But before you switch your electric heating appliances on, read these important safety tips:

  • Just as you would for a portable space heater, make sure your electric blanket or heating pad has a label indicating it’s been tested by a trusted laboratory, such as UL.
  • Always read the manufacture’s guide and warnings before use.
  • Complete a visual inspection of the blanket or pad and wiring to ensure everything is intact and that the plug is in good condition. If you come across any loose or damaged wiring, replace the blanket or pad right away. Do not continue using it.
  • When plugged in, don’t allow anything to cover it as overheating can occur.
  • When in use, keep the blanket or pad flat. Never bend or fold as you risk overheating it.
  • Never use heated blankets and pads in conjunction with one another.
  • If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor if electrical heating appliances are okay to use.
  • Heated blankets and pads are not intended for overnight use. If you want to warm your bed, turn your blanket or pad on 20-30 minutes before you go to sleep, and then turn it off when you’re ready for bed.
  • Never let your pet lay on a heating appliance.
  • When you’re done using the appliance, unplug it and loosely fold it up.

Furnace Safety

Most homeowners use furnaces as their primary heating source. The last thing you want is to be without heat on a freezing cold night. Keep comfy all winter long by remembering these tips:

  • For your furnace to run safely and efficiently all winter long, you need to have it serviced annually. If you haven’t already scheduled your annual furnace tune-up, don’t wait any longer! Call a licensed HVAC technician right away.
  • Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to ensure they’re working properly. If you need to have them installed, call 24/7 Electric today. You can also read our blog, “Keep Your Family Safe with These Smoke & CO Detector Tips.”
  • Make sure your furnace is clear of debris. This includes any trash, leaves, twigs, etc.
  • Change your air filter according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. A dirty air filter can lead to numerous problems such as inefficient heating, poor indoor air quality, not to mention they’re a fire hazard, too.

By following these simple yet crucial home heating safety tips, you’ll feel better equipped to power through Alberta’s tough winter season. You can help prevent a fire hazard by addressing any electrical problem the moment you notice it. Call 24/7 Electric at (587)-315-1361 or (778)- 557-1519 for expert service.

If you would like more information about electrical repairs, maintenance, or wiring services from 24/7 Electric, please call us at 587-315-1361 in Calgary or 778-557-1519 in Victoria, or complete our online request form.

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