4 Dangerous Home Heating Mistakes to Avoid
Stay safe and warm this winter
It happens every year – people make home heating mistakes, and some result in injuries or fatalities. Common causes: heating a home with an oven, getting objects too close to a heater, or trying to thaw frozen pipes with a blowtorch.
what not to do when it comes to staying warm and safe this winter.
1. Heating with an oven. Engineers created ovens
specifically to cook food and furnaces to heat homes, and each functions best
when used as intended. Leaving
the oven on for heating, especially with the door open, risks something falling
into the oven and starting your house on fire, or a child or pet getting
seriously burned by accidently coming into contact with it. Additionally, using
a gas oven for heating may lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
monoxide is a colorless, odorless
gas, explains the EPA. High levels can cause dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness
and even death. Using
the oven correctly for cooking - intermittently with the oven door closed and
exhaust hood on - dramatically reduces the risk of carbon monoxide buildup, according
to the Iowa Cooperative Extension Service.
2. Not using in-wall,
baseboard or space heaters properly. Heating equipment is a leading
cause of home fire deaths, reports the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The biggest causes? Space heaters and fireplace
follow the rule: Keep all objects three feet away from a space/wall/baseboard heater.
Also, according the Insurance
- Make sure your space heaters carry the mark of an independent testing laboratory like UL.
- Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to bed.
- Do not overload the circuit. If you must use an extension cord (try not to), choose one that is the same size or larger than the appliance cord.
other tip: Avoid kerosene and propane heaters. They’re not meant for indoor use
and can cause a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup (and so require venting), and they use a
very open flame that can easily start a fire.
3. Not having the
chimney swept. Failing
to clean chimneys keeps coming up as a leading cause of home
heating fires, warns the NFPA. In addition to
having a professional clean your chimney every season, follow these additional fireplace
and woodstove tips
to stay safe this winter while getting cozy around the fireplace.
frozen pipes with a blowtorch or space/gas heater. Trying to thaw pipes with open flame heating sources could
set your house on fire, which recently happened to a restaurant in Aurora, Colorado. You can use an electric hair dryer or wrap pipes with
towels soaked in hot water, explains the American Red Cross, if you can find and
access the pipe. But your best route may be calling a professional plumber.
Ultimately, preventing frozen pipes works best. Prepare your
house using these outdoor and indoor maintenance tips.
Then, during winter, keep the heat on even while gone, leaving it in the low
60s or mid 50s, advises Xcel Energy.
So, there you have it: the common
heating mistakes to avoid. Remember, if you turn to alternative heating sources
this winter, choose a space heater or a properly maintained fireplace/wood
stove, and be smart about it. That way you can keep your family safe and warm this
winter, and your home protected from damage.