Heating Safety

an electric heater

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Heating Safety
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Heating safety is important for everybody, after all, we all like to keep warm don’t we? There’s nothing worse than a cold house, but then again, there are some rules which you need to follow in order to keep yourself and your family warm and safe.

  • Make sure that children and pets are kept well away from any supplementary heaters.
  • Don’t use space heaters where you are sleeping overnight and never leave them unattended.
  • Make sure that all supplementary heaters are positioned at least 3 feet away from combustibles – bedding, drapes, soft furnishings etc.
  • Always read and follow the instructions when installing, maintaining and operating a heating appliance.
  • Make sure that there is a fully functioning smoke detector at every level of your house – burnt toast is a good way to test the one at kitchen level, every morning at around 07.45 hours.

Kerosene heaters are responsible for around 2300 residential fires every year, and around 90 deaths.  You need to be very careful that there is adequate ventilation in the room before using a kerosene heater (they do emit air pollutants) and make sure that you only use the fuel recommended by the manufacturers.

Wood stoves are even more dangerous, or is it just that there are more of them? Anyway, they are responsible for around 200 deaths and 100,000 fires every year. Very often it’s because of improper installation or maintenance. For starters you need to be sure that the wood stove is installed onto a surface, and at the correct distance from the wall as recommended by the manufacturer. They give you these instructions for a reason you know – follow them!

Gas heaters are responsible for around 18,000 fires and 400 lives each year. Apart from the danger of fire there’s also the added problem with potential carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that rooms are well ventilated and that heaters are vented if that’s what the manufacturer recommends. You can also suffer from pilot light problems. If it goes out wait at least 5 minutes before you try to light it again, don’t allow the gas to accumulate and always strike the match before you turn on the gas to avoid potential flashback.  If you do smell gas don’t try to light your heater, turn everything off, open the windows and call a service engineer.

Electric space heaters cause their fair share of problems too – 130 deaths from 2600 fires. Basically they’re not supposed to be used continually and aren’t any kind of substitute for central heating.  Keep any combustibles at least 3 feet (36 inches) away from the heater, don’t leave them switched on if you are not in the room, and never ever drape clothes over them to dry. That’s just asking for trouble.


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