How To Prevent Accidental Heating Fires

image of a housefire started by heating equipment

When temperatures plunge, we rely on our heaters to keep us warm and comfortable during the coldest months. They usually work well but you need to be aware that accidents can happen because of them. Heating equipment is among the top causes of residential fires. Don’t let your home become part of the statistics. Many of these accidents are preventable if you pay enough attention to your fireplace, space heater, water heater, kitchen stoves, and other heating systems. Keep the following heating safety tips in mind and perform them on a regular basis.

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How To Prevent Accidental Heating Fires

Below, we share some safety tips that all homeowners should be aware of when heating their homes.

Furnace Inspection

image of an hvac contractor performing annual furnace maintenance

The furnace can regulate the temperature producing just enough heat to offset the winter chill. Furnaces consume natural gas, propane, or heating oil to keep a fire going. Warm air is distributed across the house through a network of ducts. A lot of things can fail in such a big system so it’s best to get professional maintenance at least once every year.

Let the pros check every component within the unit and across the ducts. They can clean every inch of the system to prevent clogs. They can also spot flammable materials nearby and remove them from the vicinity. Furthermore, they make sure that its operation is safe, considering most heating equipment uses combustible fuel and electrical power that can lead to fires. Homeowners can help by replacing the air filter monthly or whenever it gets dirty.

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Chimney Cleaning

image of a chimney sweeper

Some homes have a fireplace and chimney to add warmth to the home. This can be a nice feature but it entails quite a bit of work to stay in good shape. The chimney gets dirty quite quickly due to the build-up of soot and other types of dirt. Even if you only use it a few times each year, it would still be prudent to have it cleaned by a professional. You may also use products that help keep the chimney clean for longer. This should provide a clear path for the smoke to escape upwards instead of trapping everything inside and making the home too hot.

Damage Assessment

Chimneys need to be airtight along the sides. Unfortunately, cracks can develop over time due to poor workmanship, water seepage, material degradation, and so on. When this happens, air can move in blow the flames in unexpected ways. These could go in the direction of the living room instead of being contained in the fireplace. Flammable materials such as carpets, blankets, pillows, and décor can turn into kindling for the fire. If you have an old chimney, then it is best to have this checked for possible structural damage as soon as possible for your peace of mind.

Screen Barrier

Given the possibility described above, it would be prudent to keep all times of flammable materials away from the fireplace. Another safety measure to consider is the use of a diffusion screen that could serve as a barrier between the fireplace and the rest of the room. This will allow you to see the flames from your preferred vantage point while catching any stray sparks or logs. These will remain where they should be so you won’t have to worry about fires developing in this space. Use the fireplace with confidence whenever you want to thanks to this screen.


Space Heaters & Safety Features

woman using space heater incorrectly

If you are still in the process of purchasing your space heaters, then this is the perfect opportunity to check the included safety features. Make sure that you get units that include emergency cut-off in case of accidents. If the dog or the kids knock them over, then they should shut down automatically so that they don’t heat up the carpets directly and cause a fire to develop. After all, winter fires are usually caused by space heaters due to circuit overloads.

Room occupants should also be careful to use these heaters only when they are present. These must be installed on flat ground with no flammable materials nearby. Change the flooring from carpet to tile or concrete. Move them away from windows, beds, and shelves. Keep anything within a 3-feet distance from the space heater when it is on. Be sure to turn it off when leaving the room.

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Laundry Room Clearing

Laundry makes us think of water rather than fire but the laundry room can provide an opportunity for flames to develop. Remember that the dryer is connected to a duct with warm air. This part of the system can collect lint over time and there could be enough to create a spark under certain conditions. The dryer may have a mechanism to capture the lint but nothing is ever fully effective. This duct should be part of the regular cleaning schedule just to be on the safe side.

Shift to Central Heating

image of woman feeling comfortable on couch with central heating system

Space heaters can come in direct contact with items in a room. That’s partly why they start so many fires within homes. If you switched to central heating, then you will only have to worry about one room (its installation location) and ensure excellent fireproofing to prevent a conflagration. This may be an expensive way to solve the problem but it is arguably worth the investment if you can save the rest of the house.

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Water Heater Replacement

The water heater is crucial during the coldest months as it prevents the pipes from freezing and keeps the water bearable to touch. However, it can succumb to wear and tear just like any other equipment. The heating element can fail, the minerals can build up, and the thermostat can have faulty readings. A problematic water heater can cause a fire if allowed to operate under strain. Consider installing a replacement for older models or at least have a professional perform the necessary repairs.



Fires are among the most dangerous things that could happen to a home. Exert every effort to prevent them by controlling what you can. Seek the help of experts when necessary for the best possible results.

Call McAllister Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

McAllister EnergyMcAllister Energy offers superior heating and cooling services in Camden County, New Jersey. We hire professionally certified technicians who can provide you with excellent HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each of our techs has the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

McAllister Energy guarantees the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our maintenance services can improve your comfort, increase your energy efficiency while reducing your home energy costs. If you happen to need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can recommend the best one for your home while staying within your budget. We back all of our work with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. To schedule a service appointment, give McAllister Energy a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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