Winter is upon us again. In these cold months, we tend to turn to our heaters for comfort. According to U.S. Fire Administration “from 2013 to 2015, an estimated average of 45,900 heating fires in residential buildings occurred in the U.S”. Now one needs to be told. This is quite a lot, and one can only imagine the losses people suffered during these events. The use of home heaters increases during the cold months of November to April. It is during this period that we notice an increase in the use of heating units. Heating is one of the leading causes of all residential building fires, following cooking.
When putting heaters to use, it is best advised that we follow these safety measures.
Safety Procedures in the Use of a Home Heater
- Be sure that the heater is in good working condition. For kerosene heaters, check the amount of carbon you have in the exhaust part
- Electric heaters are power-consuming. Ensure you are not overloading the circuit the heater is connected to.
- See to it that you have a working thermostat in your electric heater
- Keep combustible materials away from your heater(3 – 5 feet).
- Ensure you have a good ventilating system while using a kerosine, wood stove, or furnace heater. This has a good effect on the health of your respiratory system.
- Always make sure the fire hydrant around your home is in a clear environment and it is ready to be used in the case of an emergence.
How Do Fires from Home Heaters Start
Generally, fire outbreaks from heaters are most likely caused by the proximity of combustible materials to the heater. In our homes, this would include mattresses, sofas, curtains, papers, furniture, pillows, and bedding.
For your fireplace, clean or have the chimney inspected at least once a year. A fire outbreak is likely to occur when you have a build-up of Creosote in your chimney. Creosote is a by-product of combustion. it can easily be seen on your chimney wall as a black or dark brown residue. Interestingly, for a substance directly above your fireplace, the Creosote is flammable. Given the right quantity and amount of heat, it could lead to a fire outbreak.
Electric heaters are also becoming popular. Electric heaters are also known to be one of the leading causes of fire outbreaks in homes. Most of these incidents are tied to failure to comply with the specifications described in the manufacturer’s manual. As a general rule of thumb, place
electric heaters in an open space. Electric heaters draw a lot of electricity. It is recommended that you connect the appliance directly to an electrical receptacle. The heater should never be connected to an electrical extension cord or an electrical power strip because of the difference in maximum about of current the latter can allow safely.
Manufacturers of electric heaters have in recent times increased the safety of these appliances. Low-oxygen sensors, Overheat protection, and “tip over” switches are some of the safety features we see regularly.
To close off, here are a few electric heaters out there with these features.
- De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heater
- Honeywell HCE352C Digital Ceramic Tower Heater
- GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater
- Alpha Heater Portable Heater
- Lasko 5586 Digital Ceramic Tower Heater
- Amazon Basics 1500W Ceramic Personal Heater