UL offers safety advice on heating systems
In order to prevent potential home heating mishaps, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has provided some safety tips for home-heating hot spots.
According to UL, alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves can present hazards if not used correctly.
If using space heaters, UL suggests consumers should do so with extreme caution.
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association reveal that 73 per cent of all fires and 43 per cent of all injuries related to home heating result from improper use of such products.
All heaters need space; keep items that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3ft away from heating equipment.
Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed and never place them in an area where a child is sleeping.
Look for the UL mark when purchasing a space heater, which means it has been tested for safety and includes protective features to lessen the risk of burn or fire hazards.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, failure to clean a chimney or flue is the leading cause of all home-heating equipment fires combined.
Maintain the chimney and flue by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a trained professional.
Use a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the home.
Be alert to the danger signs that signal a carbon monoxide (CO) problem such as the absence of a draft in a chimney, soot falling into the fireplace, or small amounts of water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent or flue.
It is also 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.
Keep wood stove doors closed unless loading or stoking the fire.
Install wood stove chimney connectors following manufacturer's instructions or have a professional handle the job, as many injuries are the result of improper installation.
In addition to the above home-heating equipment tips, UL suggests following the additional tips.
Only use heating equipment that has been tested for safety.
Products that bear the UL mark have been tested to UL's stringent safety standards and found to be free of foreseeable hazards.
Never use cooking stoves, grills or ovens to heat the home, they could potentially be a fire hazard or cause CO poisoning.
Help keep warm air moving through the home by putting the ceiling fan on reverse.
Fans are set for summer weather so when reversed, will push warm air downward.
Learn more about how to keep a family safe from potential hazards caused by alternative home heating methods by visiting www.ul.com/consumers.
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