Underwriters Laboratories offers home heating safety tips as temperatures bottom out.
NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan., 13, 2010 — Numb’s the word on the street. The Farmers’ Almanac tells us that brutally cold temperatures are only going to dip lower in the next few months. As households grapple with high heating costs, families need to be especially careful to make sure they don’t get burned when creating home heating hot spots to save a few dollars.
According to Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the leading independent safety testing organization, alternative heating sources like space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves can present hazards if not used correctly. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that heating equipment is involved in an estimated 64,100 home fires each year.
"Even though the economy still has families in a budget-conscious state of mind, they shouldn’t disregard safety when using alternative heating sources, or let a few dollars keep them from paying attention to necessary maintenance on a furnace or chimney," says John Drengenberg, director of Consumer Safety for UL. "If used correctly, space heaters, electric blankets, fireplaces and wood stoves make great alternatives that can help keep you warm."
UL wants your family to prevent potential home heating mishaps by following its safety tips for home heating hot spots:
If using space heaters, UL suggests consumers do so with extreme caution: 73 percent of all fires and 43 percent of all injuries related to home heating result from improper use of these products.1
Think it’s safe and easy to gently warm the home by starting a small fire in the fireplace? Think again. Unfortunately, failure to clean a chimney or flue is the leading cause of all home heating equipment fires combined.1
It is important to exercise care while using wood-burning stoves. Recent reports show they account for nearly 4,900 injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms each season.1
In addition to the above home heating equipment tips, follow these additional tips to keep your family out of the "hot zones":
Finally, Drengenberg has one final, practical way to stay warm and be safe. "Help keep warm air moving through your home by putting your ceiling fan on reverse. Fans are set for summer weather so when reversed, will push warm air downward. It’s ready for winter when you look up and the blades are turning clockwise."
Learn more about how to keep your family safe from potential hazards caused by alternative home heating methods by visiting www.ul.com/consumers.
1 National Fire Protection Association