Author Topic: Winter heating safety list
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Registered: Oct 19, '01
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Subject: Winter heating safety list
With winter upon us I thought it would be a good idea to post a few reminders.

Have all your heating systems inspected and cleaned, by a trained professional.

Check your Filters and change them if you have a heating source that uses them.

Have your chimney inspected (more about that below)


  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following safety tips for space heaters:

    Select a space heater with a guard around the flame area or the heating element to protect children and clothing.
    Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Some heaters get very hot. Children should not be permitted to either adjust the controls or move the heater.
    When selecting a heater, look for one that has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
    Buy a heater that is the correct size for the area you want to heat. The wrong size heater could produce more pollutants and may not be an efficient use of energy.
    Read and follow the manufacturer's operating instructions, and make sure all members of the household understand how to operate the heater safely.
    Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an un-vented fuel-burning space heater. This helps to prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Even vented heaters require ventilation for proper combustion.
    Never leave a space heater on when you sleep or leave the area. This is a carbon monoxide and fire hazard.
    Never use or store paints, solvents or flammable liquids around a space heater. Flammable vapors can ignite.
    Be aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired heaters should be used.
    Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes.
    Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes.
    Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire.
    Equip your home with at least one smoke alarm on each floor and outside sleeping areas.
    Install a carbon monoxide alarm that meets the requirements of the current UL standard 2034 or the IAS 6-96 standard in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home.
    Keep at least one dry-powder operative, ABC-type fire extinguisher in the home at all times.
    Keep areas around heat sources free of papers and trash.
    Develop a fire escape plan before a fire occurs. Be certain that all members of the household understand the plan and are able to carry out the plan in case of emergency.
    Be sure the plan includes a predetermined meeting place outside the house.
    If you clothing does catch fire, don't run! Drop down immediately, cover face with hands, and roll to smother the flames. Teach your family how to do this.
    Have annual safety checks on all home-heating equipment.


  • Never use gasoline in a kerosene heaters. Even very small quantities of gasoline in the heater tank can cause a fire. Kerosene should never be stored or carried in a container that has contained gasoline because the residual gasoline is enough to increase the flammability of the kerosene.
    Only use 1-K kerosene in kerosene heaters. Kerosene should be purchased from a dealer who can certify that it is 1-K grade kerosene. The fact that kerosene is "water clear" does not ensure that it is 1-K.
    Never fill the fuel tank of a kerosene heater beyond the full mark. As the fuel warms, it expands and could spill and cause a fire.
    Do not attempt to remove the fuel tank, or refuel the heater when it is operating or hot. The heater should not be moved while it is operating. Refuel the heater out of doors.
    If lare-up or uncontrolled flaming occurs, do not attempt to move the heater. If you heater is equipped with a manual shut-off switch, activate the switch to turn off the heater. Do not attempt to extinguish a kerosene-heater fire with water or blankets. If activation of the shut-off switch does not extinguish the flame, leave the area and immediately call the fire department.
    Keep kerosene stored outside in a sealed blue container labeled "Kerosene."


  • Portable electric heaters made after 1991 include many new performance requirements to enhance safety.
    A tip-over switch on some models will turn the heater off when it is tipped until it is turned upright again.
    Some new heaters also include indicator lights to let users know that the heater is plugged in or is turned on.
    Some manufacturers include safety controls like infrared or proximity sensors that can turn a heater off when objects come too close, or when children or pets are near.
    Use heaters on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture.
    Do not use heaters in wet or moist places, such as bathrooms, unless certified for that purpose.
    Do not hide cords under rugs or carpets. Placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat, and can cause a fire.
    Do not use an extension cord unless absolutely necessary. Using a light-duty, household extension cord with high-wattage appliances can start a fire. If you must use an extension cord, it must be marked #14 or #12 A WG; this tells the thickness or gauge of the wire in the cord.
    Be sure the plug fits snugly in the outlet. Since a loose plug can overheat, have a qualified repairman replace the worn-out plug or outlet. If the plug feels hot, unplug the heater and have a qualified repairman check for problems. If the heater and its plug are found to be working properly, have the outlet replaced.
    If a heater is used on an outlet protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and the DFCI trips, do not assume the GFCI is broken. Because GFCIs protect the location where leakage currents can cause a severe shock, stop using the heater and have it checked, even if it seems to be working properly.
    Broken heaters should ONLY be check and repaired by a qualified appliance service center.


  • All unvented gas-fired space heaters (manufactured after 1983) should be equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). These sensors detect a reduced level of oxygen in the area where the heater is operating and shut off the heater before a hazardous level of carbon monoxide accumulates.
    Always have your gas heater and venting system professionally installed and inspected according to local codes.
    Vented gas-fired heaters can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are not vented properly.
    If your space heater is meant to be vented, be sure that the heater and flue are professionally installed according to local codes. Vented systems require regular maintenance and inspections. Be aware that older gas-fired space heaters may not be equipped with the safety devices required by current voluntary standards, such as an oxygen depletion sensor or a pilot safety valve that will turn off the gas to the heater if the pilot light should go out. If the pilot light on your heater should go out, use the following safety tips:
    Light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot. This avoids the risk of a flashback, which could occur if you allow gas to accumulate before you are ready to light the pilot.
    IF YOU SMELL GAS, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LIGHT THE APPLIANCE. Turn off all controls and open a window or door and leave the area. Then call a gas service person. Do not touch any electrical switches.
    Remember that LP (propane) gas, unlike natural gas supplied from the gas utility distribution pipes, is heavier than air. If you believe a leak has occurred, go to a neighor's phone to call your gas distributor or fire department. Do not operate any electrical switches or telephones in the building where the leak has occurred because a spark could cause an explosion.


  • Existing building codes and manufacturer's instructions must be followed during installation.
    Buy wood-burning stoves that are certified as meeting EPA emission standards.
    Check chimney and stovepipes frequently during the heating season for creosote build-up and have them cleaned annually. Also make sure you have an adequate supply of fresh air.
    Stoves must be placed on an approved floor protector or fire resistant floor, and must be located at lease 18 inches from the wall and three feet from draperies, furniture and other combustible materials.
    Do not burn trash or anything other than the proper fuel. In a wood-burning heater, use only dry, seasoned wood and not Christmas trees or other highly volatile wood products.
    Use a metal container for ash removal.


  • Dirty woodstove glass? Try dipping a dampened piece of newsprint in the fine white ashes after your fire has died. Whipe it onto the glass in circular motions -- it works well if the glass isn't terribly dirty to begin with.

    Putting a chimney cover or chimney cap on top of your flue can save you a lot of money in the long run. The covers keep out damaging moisture, which wears away masonry and steel chimneys -- not to mention that they keep birds and other critters out.

    The National Fire Protection Association (in NFPA 211) recommends you have your chimney checked at least once a year, and cleaned if needed. Heavy users need more frequent check-ups.

    If you have a newer EPA-rated woodstove, you might have a catalytic combuster in there somewhere. Make sure to check the owner's manual about cleaning it -- and stick to the schedule. Combusters should last 5 or 6 years, but a clogged or dirty one will fail rather quickly.

    Do you have a smelly fireplace? Chimney Breath is most often caused by moisture, rain, or high humidity. Have your chimney cleaned early in the spring to make the humid summer days less odiforous.

    Ever wonder what wood is the best to burn as firewood? Oak is an American favorite. Other hardwoods are also a good choice. You can burn other softer wood also, as long as it is split and dried long enough. It's much more important to burn dry wood than to worry about what kind of wood it is.

    Do you know what to do during a chimney fire? Call the fire department and exit the house -- just like any other house fire. Many people choose not to do this, but if the fire does spread, don't you want the firefighters there already?

    Springtime is the right time to get your chimneys checked! Sweeps are generally less frantic in the spring (vs. the crazy fall season) and if your chimney needs repairs, they can be made before the cold weather hits!

    Mild winters mean more chimney fires! It's true. People choke back their woodstoves in mild weather -- leading to more creosote accumulation -- but many don't realize this, so they skip getting it cleaned, thinking it doesn't need it as bad as it would after a cold winter.

    Black stove pipe (and furnace pipe, for that matter) should be securely fastened together at each joint with no less than three sheet metal screws or pop-rivets. Stove and vent pipe should be inspected at least yearly, and replaced when signs of rusting or wear are evident.

    Gas logs release a lot of water vapor when they are burning. You should be wary of mold and mildew, especially if you have asthma and respiratory problems, when using them for longer than a few hours. A CO detector is a great gas-log accessory. You can find one in many home-improvement and mass chain stores.

    Have your chimney checked every year (no matter how you heat your home) to make sure the chimney can do its job to properly vent hot, toxic gases and carbon monoxide from the heating system to the outdoors.

    To help reduce creosote build-up in your wood-burning chimney system, burn only well-seasoned hardwoods. If you don't know how to build a hot, safe fire, ask your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® for tips on proper wood-burning techniques.

    If you own or are planning to install a high-efficiency gas furnace, ask your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® to check that the furnace is vented in accordance with the National Fuel Gas Code.

    Have a high-quality, long-lasting chimney cap installed to keep out debris and prevent birds, animals and insects from nesting in your chimney.

    Following a violent storm, earthquake, flood or lightning strike, have your chimney inspected for damage -- inside and out. This includes checking for cracks and fallen bricks. For safety's sake, DO NOT USE YOUR CHIMNEY until it is checked by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®.

    Install a carbon monoxide detector to warn of harmful gases that may be entering your home because of a blocked or damaged chimney.

    Have your chimney waterproofed to prevent long-term corrosion and masonry damage.

    Have your chimney flashing (the seal between the chimney and the roof) inspected and maintained. Flashing prevents rain water and snow melt from entering your home and causing costly damage to your walls and ceilings.

    Save energy dollars and eliminate unpleasant off-season odors. Have a sealing damper installed in your wood-burning chimney system.

    Have your chimney sweep ensure that your chimney has an appropriate liner. Chimney liners are required in new construction to separate hot heating system emissions from the structure of your home.

    Spring is a good time to schedule an annual chimney check by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®.

    taken from here;


    WoW Ayla Hunter, Lightbringer, Z Guild
    May the forces of evil become confused
    while your arrow is on its way to the target. ~George Carlin~
    A'yla level 126 UA AC FF
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    Subject: Winter heating safety list
    in cali ya dont even need a heater grin


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