Seasonal Safety

Home heating comes from a multitude of sources. Often times residents will supplement their main heating system with alternative heat sources such as fireplaces, wood stoves, and portable fuel or electric heaters.

Safety Tips
  • Have a heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check-up of your furnace and ventilation system to ensure efficient, safe operation.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shut-offs are in proper working order.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
  • Never store chemicals, chlorine, paint thinners, paint strippers, gasoline, or other flammables near the furnace.
  • Make sure there is a free flow of air to the furnace. Keep an area of at least 2 feet around the furnace clear by removing any boxes or obstructions.
Alternate Heating Sources
  • Keep at least 3 feet of clearance between your alternate heat source and anything combustible.
  • Never leave a heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources.
  • Only use heaters that have been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features like automatic shut-offs.
  • Only install and use heaters according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Fireplaces & Fireplace Ashes
  • Ensure that your chimney is cleaned and inspected once a year.
  • A spark arrestor across the top of a chimney will prevent sparks from igniting your roof.
  • Use the proper fuel (seasoned hardwood, pellets, and gas/propane) for your type of system.
  • Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen across the front to prevent embers from flying or logs from rolling out.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Many "non-masonry" fireplace/chimney units have limitations on the amount of heat they can safely withstand.
  • Do not discard your ashes into any combustible container such as a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
  • When clearing ashes from the fireplace, be sure to put them into a metal container with a lid. Do not discard your ashes into any combustible container such as a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
  • Keep your can outside the home, away from your fireplace or stove. Do not place ash containers on decks, porches, or in garages.
  • Pour water into ash containers to make sure the ashes are cool.
  • Teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood-burning stove.