Protect Against Home Fires This Winter
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January, and February. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to your risk of a fire in your Wales, WI home such as heating, holiday decorations, winter storms, and candles, but the best way to decrease your risk is to arm yourself with knowledge. As a leading HVAC industry expert, Midwest Heating & Cooling wants you to be prepared for every hazard that comes your way whether it’s a winter fire, carbon monoxide leaks or electrical malfunctions.
Keeping it Warm
Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths, and injuries according to the NFPA. And considering that the months of December, January, and February are the peak cold months in most U.S. states (particularly in Wisconsin), it only makes sense that those months also bring the highest risk of a home fire. To avoid the danger of heating-related fires, you should always keep anything flammable at least 3 ft. from any heat source including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters. You should also regularly have an expert HVAC technician perform furnace maintenance to prevent any malfunctioning components or parts.
The Invisible Killer
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels like gasoline wood, coal, or propane don’t burn completely. During the winter months when many people are cozied up in their homes, they’re at greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from heating and cooking equipment that use fuel. To protect yourself from the invisible killer, you should always install and test a carbon monoxide detector every month for proper operation.
Frosty, the Winter Storm
The majority of the U.S. experiences winter storms, which can lead to dangerous, life-threatening conditions. With heavy snowfall, extreme cold, icy roads, and power outages, blizzards can make life difficult for everyone involved. Without power, many people will turn to alternative heating sources leading to the risk of fire from malfunctioning heaters and other small-engine equipment, including portable generators. Always make sure to properly operate all heating equipment according to the owner’s manual.
Life-Saving Power…Or is it?
When a power outage occurs, portable generators are often used, but many homeowners are unaware that incorrectly using a generator is extremely dangerous. Improperly used generators can lead to CO poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of generator-related deaths happen between November and February. One the most important steps to remember when operating a portable generator is to make sure it’s set-up outside, away from windows, and as far away from your home as possible.
Candle Burning Bright, or Just Burning?
December is the peak month for home candle fires, particularly on Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. According to the NFPA, between 2012 and 2016, an average of 8.200 home candle fires was reported. You should always check that all candles are put out before leaving for the evening or going to bed, and that they are far enough away from anything flammable.
Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while the remaining half involved washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. As a rule, it’s always best to plug in only one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time.
Considering the high risk of home fires during the winter, it’s important to know the many factors that can lead to electrical malfunctions, carbon monoxide poisoning, or winter fires. Always contact the experts for any situations you’re uncertain about and make sure to contact the Midwest Heating & Cooling professionals to ensure your Wales, WI furnace is in top condition!
Check out this info-graphic for further winter fire safety tips: