Fireplace Safety: 7 Tips for Stoves, Heaters & Fireplaces

One of the most common causes of fires in residential homes is heating equipment.

Whilst it is the beginning of spring in Australia it is Fall or Autumn in the rest of the world. Ironically both seasons are good seasons to have your heating checked. In both cases you need heating less and you can afford to have it off for a few hours whilst you have it checked.

About 50% of heating-related fires, occur in the winter months. Stoves, heaters and fireplaces are the most dangerous elements. It really pays to put some attention into making sure your home heating is safely set up.

This is not something that you can afford to be complacent about.

Seven of The Most Important Fireplace Safety Tips :

1) Test Your Smoke Alarms

Image of wood stove: Fireplace Safety is important

Fireplace Safety is important

You should test your smoke alarms at least once per year, if not every month during the winter months.

As you’re going into the winter season, go through your house and test every fire alarm in your home. Do this before turning your heaters on. If possible, repeat this test every month during winter.

A fire alarm or smoke detector should be installed near every heat source in your home. At the very least there should be an alarm central to all fireplaces. For example: if a hallway is common to each of your fireplaces you at least need a tested one there.

Working fire alarms save lives!

2) Check for Tip Cut-Off

In most places new electric and even kerosene heaters are now required to have automatic tip-over off switches. Older models may not have these switches. Check your models and try to only use heaters that have a tip-over switch.

As a further protection try and make sure you only use your heaters inside a fireplace or on a fire resistance surface.

3) Put a Screen in Front of Any Fire

Any fire producing heat source, including your fireplace and your heating stoves, should have a screen or fire resistant, protective cover in front of it.

This not only helps accidental touching of hot surfaces but wayward or young body parts and material or clothing, it also helps prevent sparks from popping out. Wood, shelled corn and pellets in particular should be handled with caution, as large sparks can fly into the living room.

4) How to Handle Ashes

Ashes from your fireplace should be allowed to burn and cool. Make sure they’re completely out before you remove them.

Shovel them into a metal container to carry the ashes outside.

Make sure not to close your damper before your fire’s ashes have completely gone out. This could cause smoldering ashes to deplete the oxygen in the room, causing a build-up of carbon monoxide.

5) Keep Flammable Materials Away

Kept anything that could catch fire at least a meter to three feet away from all heating equipment. That includes carpets, drapes, newspaper, sofas, pillows, children’s stuffed toys and more.

6) Educate Kids about the Fire

You would think that it was fairly obvious that it’s important that children understand fire and heat are very dangerous and shouldn’t be played with. Unfortunately the number of children burned each year means that there needs to be a constant reminder of this. children should be instructed in the dangers of fire and stay away.

7) Have a Professional Inspection

Of all the safety tips this is the one most neglected every year.

Have all your heating equipment and your chimneys checked by a professional at least once every year. Don’t neglect this one! Carbon monoxide kills and that’s what you get from poorly serviced heating equipment!

These tips will help you prevent one of the most common causes of home fires. Remember: there’s no such thing as being too safe, especially when it comes to fire.

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