Every year, millions of people safely use heating and cooling systems to keep their homes comfortable, however, failure to properly maintain these systems can lead to loss of property and life. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “from 2012 to 2016, home heating equipment was the cause of 52,050 U.S. house fires, which caused 490 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage.
The leading cause of these fires was a failure on the homeowner’s part to properly maintain or clean their heating equipment. In order to prevent your home or loved ones from becoming part of a statistic, be sure to follow the following safety procedures.
- Have an HVAC technician check and clean your system before each season to ensure that the system is ready for use and that all wires and electrical components are safe to use (48% causing factor of home heating fires)
- Regularly change your systems’ filters, this can be done by yourself or by a technician
- Keep the area near your heating or cooling unit clear to prevent any objects nearby from catching fire or making the unit overheat (54% causing factor for home heating fires)
- Pay attention to space heaters, they have a higher likelihood of causing fires and should never be left unattended while in use (86% causing factor to home heating fires)
- If using a fireplace, ensure that the chimney is clean, the fireplace has a covering of some sort, and that the fire is never left unattended
- Never use your oven to heat your home as it may cause an explosion if run for a long period of time
In the event that there is a fire or gas leak in your home, be prepared in order to prevent as little loss to life and property as possible.
Information taken from the The National Fire Protection Association and Central Heating & Air Cnditioning.
- Make sure to keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use in properly
- Ensure that there are functioning smoke detectors on every floor of your home
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home so that if there is a leak of the poisonous, odorless gas, you and your family will be alerted
- Have a fire escape plan in place and practice it so that every member of your family could execute it in case of an emergency