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Safe Use of Supplemental Heat Sources

With the high cost of home heating fuels and utilities, Americans are using alternate sources to heat their homes. Wood and kerosene heaters, space heaters, wood and coal burning stoves, and fireplaces are being used to help heat residents.

All of these supplemental heating sources are acceptable in some places, but they are also a major contributing factor in residential fires. Fires can be prevented if the following safety tips are followed:

  • Have your home heating equipment inspected and serviced annually
  • Before using a fireplace, make sure the damper is open
  • Never use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire
  • Always keep the fireplace screen closed and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected annually
  • Before you retire for the evening, be sure the fire in the fireplace is out
  • Wood stoves should have at least 36" from combustible surfaces
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15–30 minutes to reduce creosote buildup
  • Never use fuel-burning appliances without proper room venting
  • Use only the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer
  • Never introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel
  • Never fill the heater while it is operating or hot
  • Keep kerosene or other flammable liquids in a well-ventilated storage area outside the house
  • And finally, make sure you have a working smoke detector on every level of your home