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The days of summer are now a distant memory. While the days of backyard BBQs and pool parties are behind us, there’s a lot to look forward to as the crisp fall air arrives. Curling up fireside with a cup of hot cocoa and loved ones is high on the list, but before you get cozy in front of the fireplace, be aware of seasonal dangers that can affect you and your family.
“Because most heating appliances haven’t been used for several months, it’s important for homeowners to take precautions before the season’s first use,” said Allison Hawkins, Manager, Corporate Affairs, CSA Group. “By conducting routine appliance inspections early, you can relax and enjoy fall’s highlights, like colorful leaves, pumpkin carving and keeping warm with family.”
CSA Group, a leader in public safety, testing and certification, reminds consumers to make sure gas appliances and heaters are in good working order with the following home heating safety tips:
Home Heating Safety
Around the home:
- Silent killer: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and lethal gas that can occur when there is incomplete combustion or poor venting. Homes that use fuel burning appliances, such as a fireplace, space heaters or a furnace should have a carbon monoxide alarm in addition to a smoke alarm. Look for a certification mark, such as the CSA Group mark, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and maintenance of your alarms.
- Don’t get burned: Be sure to install smoke alarms on every level of your home, and choose a suitable power source: battery, plug-in or hardwired. Some plug-in and hardwired models have a battery backup so that the alarm will sound even if the electrical power is shut off. Keep in mind you do need to change the batteries at least twice a year; we recommend doing so at beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.
home heating safety
- Leave it to the pros: Installation, maintenance and repair of gas appliances should only be done by a qualified professional service person. With high temperatures and risk of ignition, never store or use combustible materials, such as chemicals, paint, rags, clothing, draperies, paper, cleaning products, gasoline or flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of gas appliances.
- Yearly checkup: Have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your gas furnace and ventilation system, and be sure to clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating season.
- Fire’s not burning: If the pilot light or flame goes out on a gas fireplace, turn the gas off and wait five minutes or more (see the manufacturer’s instructions) before attempting to relight the fireplace. This allows time to clear the fireplace of gas, particularly important with direct-vent models.
- Pee-yew: Stay alert for unusual odors or flames when your gas fireplace is on, often indicating that the fireplace is not operating properly. In such cases, contact your dealer or licensed technician for servicing. Contact the gas company or emergency services if you smell gas when the unit is off and evacuate and ventilate the area.
- Hand’s off: Keep children, pets and combustibles away from hot glass surfaces to avoid burns or the possibility of clothing catching on fire.
home heating safety
As temperatures become more unpredictable and tend to drop sharply, it can be tempting to hurriedly go to the thermostat to turn up the heat. But doing so without doing proper maintenance and inspection can do more harm than good – and worse, cost you money, or even your life. Before you touch the thermostat, be sure to schedule a weekend (or two) to follow the steps above to help keep your family safe while staying warm this fall and winter.
home heating safety
For more home heating safety tips and consumer information, including a video on carbon monoxide safety, visit: http://www.csagroup.org/us/en/consumers/safety-tips.