Nobody likes a cold house and as soon as fall starts to kick in and the temperatures drop, many of us dig out our portable heating devices to try and keep warm. We’re often in too much of a hurry to carry out any safety checks, even after our portable heater might have been stuck at the back of the garage since April time. Heating equipment is responsible for thousands of home fires, particularly during the months of December through February, but by following a few simple safety rules we can help to keep our homes safe and warm.
- Space heaters – give them some space! At least 3 feet (or 1 meter for those who aren’t metrically challenged) around them, and never leave them unattended. Never ever ever ever leave them on while you go to sleep, I hope that’s enough “evers” for you to get the message.
- New heaters should carry a certificate to show that they have been independently tested for safety. Any units which require installation should only be installed by a qualified engineer – it’s no good trying to save a few bucks with DIY, the life of your family could be in severe danger.
- Fireplaces, chimneys, wood stoves, coal stoves as well as any other type of solid fuel heating system need to be properly maintained and cleaned. Take the opportunity to have them professionally cleaned and serviced during the summer months when you don’t need to use them, then you’ll be prepared when the first chills of winter arrive.
- Kerosene heaters need to be re-fuelled in well ventilated rooms, after being given plenty of time to cool down. Only use the kerosene which is recommended by the manufacturer.
- Follow the manufacturers instructions for lighting, using and turning off all home heating appliances. They don’t just hand them out for effect you know, they contain vital information for your safety – read them and do as you’re told.