This time of year we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, often becoming overwhelmed with our to-do lists. Between family events, traveling, shopping, decorating and corralling everything we each have going on, we sometimes overlook essential safety tips and practices that are ultimately lifesaving. As we begin to gear up for the winter ahead, we invite you to explore the information we’ve gathered herein. We at HALLTEC HVAC want you to have a safe holiday while enjoying your fireplace as you maintain comfort into the new year
Together, let’s have a look at some statistics provided by National Fire Protection Association that should help you comprehend the importance of proper fireplace maintenance.
- 1,342,000 fires were reported in 2016 in the United States
- These fires resulted in 3,390 civilian deaths & 14,650 injuries
- $10.6 billion dollars in property damage
- Nearly 500,000 were structure fires. 72% of which occurred in homes
- Every 24 seconds a US Fire Department responds to a fire
In addition to the above statistics, we’ve researched FEMA’s findings to add a little more data for more clarity.
- Heating was the second leading cause of home fires, after cooking
- Home heating fires peak between 5-9pm, with the highest peak at 6-8pm
- January yields the highest number of fires annually
- Chimney fires, flues or fuel burners account for 75% of home heating fires
- About 30% of fires spread past the object of origin
Now that you are aware of the ongoing danger and challenges we face together as a country, let’s look at some tips to help you have a warm, safe winter.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heat sources (fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters, candles, etc.)
- Never use an oven to heat your home
- Never leave space heaters on unattended, or while you sleep
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected by professionals annually
Let’s take a more in-depth look at other fireplace fire safety tips that you’ll want to practice from here on out.
- Burn dry, cured wood that has been cut/split/dried for 8-12 months
- Burn firewood and only firewood
- Always close the damper when you are not using your fireplace
- Keep glass doors open when burning a fire, this helps cool the chimney
- Be sure you have a chimney cap installed
- Inspect your damper to be sure it is sealing properly to prevent heat loss
- Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors
- Have your chimney swept twice per year
- Build fires slowly, adding more as it gains momentum
- Fireplaces should not be used as a furnace, 5 hour duration recommended
- Never leave a fire unattended especially with children in the home
- Keep a non-flammable rug to prevent sparks and embers from damaging your carpets and flooring
- Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes, as live coals could be among the remains
- Clean the firebox (area where fire is built) at a minimum of once per week
Here are some helpful links to further explore fire safety and other preventative measures you can take to reduce risk.
Smokey the Bear – Learning can be fun.
Now that you are up to speed on fire statistics and fireplace safety tips, you can be rest assured that your winter will we warm and safe. Simply follow these guidelines and you’ll be on your way to practicing the safest methods out there. As always, feel free to reach out to us for all of your heating and air conditioning needs!