Tips on heating your home safely

Deaths and injuries from the careless use and improper installation of heating units can be prevented.
Here are some basic rules from Fire Prevention Canada which will help you avoid the anguish of personal injury or property loss:
 •Ask a heating expert to help you choose the safest, most efficient, and economical unit for your home.
 •Don’t try install your own heating system. Leave it to a qualified technician.
 •When buying a new home—ask a specialist to inspect the heating system. Purchasing a new furnace and installing new wiring is expensive.
Solid fuel
A solid fuel heating system uses wood, coal, or fuel pellets.
•Don’t choose a unit that is too large for your needs. Select a heating unit that is appropriate to the size of the floor space you want to heat.
•The unit should be properly positioned, according to the manufacturer’s specifications for correct clearance.
•Install your unit close to a chimney.
Electric heating includes baseboard, portable and forced-air systems.
•Curtains should not hang over an electric baseboard heater.
•Electric portable heaters are designed to be used to supplement your main heating source. They are intended for smaller floor spaces.
•Units must be properly maintained. Frayed cords and loose plugs can cause fires.
•Never remove the third prong on a three-prong plug or bend it back to use a two-prong outlet. The third prong is a necessary ground for the appliance or heater.
•Never use extension cords to run electric heaters or any major appliance.
Liquid fuel
Liquid fuels include oil, wasted oil, and kerosene.
Oil fuel heaters, such as oil furnaces and oil-fired space heaters, pose certain hazards which can be avoided.
•Fuel must be stored in an approved container/tank.
•Regular servicing by a qualified technician is necessary for the efficient and safe operation of your furnace.
•Ventilation systems for oil-fuelled units must be inspected frequently.
•Waste oil heaters are designed for use in commercial buildings and should not be installed in a residence.
•Kerosene heaters must be supervised at all times. They are dangerous to children and pets.
•Kerosene heaters should only use fuel which is specified by the manufacturer.
•Never refuel a kerosene unit indoors, or when the unit is hot.
•Vents must be checked frequently to prevent blockage.
•Portable gas heaters should never be installed in poorly ventilated areas. Deadly carbon monoxide gases may build up in such areas.
•A supply of fresh air is essential when operating a gas-fired unit.
General safety tips
 •Keep all heaters a safe distance from combustibles.
•Never hang clothing on, or near the heater to dry.
•Never use your stove or clothes dryer to heat your home.
•Don’t use a hair dryer under the covers to warm your bed, it could set it on fire!
•Keep bed clothes and toys away from baseboard heaters.
•Never place wet wood on top of a wood stove to dry (keep your wood stored under cover in a dry, vented area).
•Frequently check your wood stove for defects such as cracks and swelling.
 •Second-hand appliances should be checked by a qualified person before use.
•Have your local fire department check your home for safety hazards.
•Develop an emergency escape plan for your family, and practice it regularly.
•In case of fire, get out and stay out! Use a neighbour’s phone to call the emergency response number in your area.