House fires are something every homeowner should prepare for, but that they always hope will never happen. Fortunately, properly maintaining your heating and air system is an effective way to reduce your home’s fire risk. Here are steps you can take with your HVAC contractor to keep your home safe.
Surprisingly, 64% of home heating fires happen simply because the homeowner neglected to properly maintain their HVAC equipment. While that might sound scary, it has a silver lining: by undergoing proper maintenance in your home, you can cut your risk for heating-related home fires by more than half. Make sure you’re doing these things to keep you and your family safe:
Mark Your Calendar
The first week of October is Fire Prevention Week, which makes it the ideal time to check your home annually for fire risks. By setting aside time in your schedule, you’ll make it easier on yourself to make sure your home is prepared for an emergency.
Upgrade to Central Heating
Central heating is a much safer option than the alternatives. Upgrading to central heating, while a major and costly repair, has plenty of benefits – including reducing your risk of fire.
Protect Your Fireplace
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, don’t leave it open to the air. Cover it with a screen. This limits airflow through the fireplace into your home and will help control any fires that might occur.
Take Care of Your Chimney
Chimney fires are more common than we’d like to think. To prevent this, hire a professional to clean your chimney every year – even if you don’t use it very often.
Keep Flammable Items Clear of Heating Equipment
A good rule of thumb is 3 feet, but more is always better. This includes items like:
- Wood or wood scraps
- Upholstered furniture
- Curtains and draperies
Be Judicious With Space Heaters
If you use space heaters to keep your home warm in the winter, only use one at a time. When you’re not using it, unplug it to prevent malfunctions or electrical fires.
Shut Off Heaters When Unattended
It’s tempting to leave the heat on while you’re away – who doesn’t love to walk into a room and find it nice and cozy? But a lot can happen while you’re asleep, away from home, or even just distracted. To play it safe, only use space heaters when you’re awake, present, and alert.
Stay on Top of Regular HVAC Maintenance
As if you needed one more reason to keep up with your annual maintenance check-ins, bringing in a professional prevents your HVAC system from falling into disrepair or accumulating flammable dust and debris. During annual maintenance, your HVAC repair provider can identify if you need your ducts cleaned or your filters changed – both of which can help prevent complications and fire hazards.
Nobody likes to think about the possibility of a home fire, but you can take just a few easy steps to keep you and your family safe.