When it’s time to turn up the heat in your home this winter to battle the icy cold, follow these simple tips to prevent the chance of fire:
1. Hire a professional to inspect and clean your furnace. Maintaining your furnace and ensuring that it’s operating properly and efficiently will save you money and keep you free from worry.
2. Open your windows when you first turn on your furnace. Choose a warm day to let your furnace burn off the dust and dirt that have collected on its heating element. A residual odor is not harmful, but if the furnace rumbles or produces black smoke, call 911 and evacuate the premises.
3. Clean your chimney. Before you cozy up to the fireplace, open the flue and check for obstructions that can cause a build-up of harmful carbon monoxide. Hire a chimney sweep to inspect for creosote, a substance that gradually builds up as wood burns and can ignite in the chimney flue.
4. Use electric heaters sparingly. Don’t let a space heater run for hours on end. Turn it off at night or when you vacate a room. Move bedding, clothing and other flammable items at least three feet away from the heater. And never leave children and pets unattended near a space heater.
5. Handle propane-powered equipment carefully. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, store cylinders outside, and call 911 if you smell a strong odor of gas.
For more information on home fire safety, go to BeFireSmart.com.
This information brought to you by Liberty Mutual and the Montclair State University Foundation. Our partnership with Liberty Mutual offers competitive rates and superior service to alumni. For more information, please visit us at www.libertymutual.com/montclair .
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