Heat your home safely

This winter, heat your home safely

A roaring fire on a cold Sunday morning feels decadent and luxurious. A bunch of firefighters in your living room? Not so much.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 86 percent of home fire deaths are related to home heating equipment. And half of those fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps — and a healthy dose of common sense — can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.


  • Let experts install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year. Again, trust the experts. Many people don’t realize that failing to clean heating appliances is the top factor in home appliances failing and igniting.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment — furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. That includes not cramming your tiny space heater underneath your desk. Having a heat source too close to combustibles is the second leading source for these kinds of fires, and is also the most damaging.
  • Don’t leave small children alone around open fires and space heaters. And use a 3-foot “kid-free zone” rule.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard, nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over. It may cost more, but it’s worth the investment.
  • Ovens are for food, not for heat. Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the appropriate fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a screen to stop rolling logs and to keep sparks from flying into the room. Wait until the ashes are cool before putting them in a metal container, and keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month.


If the worst thing does happen, are you covered? Check our great coverages for your home and contact an agent for an insurance checkup.

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National Fire Protection Association
American Red Cross