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Is Your Heater Safe?

heater.jpgPoorly designed or improperly maintained space heaters and furnaces can pose a serious risk of explosions and fires. Space heaters alone are responsible for more than 25,000 fires and approximately 300 deaths every year. The majority of these fires and fatalities are preventable through care and proper usage.

Furnace Dangers & Safety

Furnaces pose a significant risk of fires and explosions and are responsible for causing approximately 10% of all residential fires. Cracked heat exchangers, clogged ventilation systems, faulty connections, the introduction of flammable debris, damaged circuit boards, and many other component failures can lead to the dangerous build up of heat or the escape and ignition of combustible natural gas. Thus, it is important for homeowners, business owners, and landlords to follow the recommended maintenance schedule for their furnace and to promptly repair any defects. Failing to do so can have deadly consequences. In fact, failing to properly maintain a furnace can also lead to personal injury lawsuits and the denial of a homeowner's insurance claim.     

Space Heater Dangers & Safety

Approximately 40% of all home fires are caused by space heaters. Space heaters require special considerations when setting them up and using them. They should always be placed a safe distance from curtains, bedding, and other flammable items. It is also critical to keep them well away from water and other liquids that can either ignite or cause an electrical short. Users should also avoid connecting their space heater to power cords or power strips as these are not designed to handle the significant quantities of electricity that flow through the heater which can cause them to overheat and spark a fire. Most importantly, individuals should not leave the space heater running when they leave the home or fall asleep as many space heater fires occur when they are unattended. 

Checking for Safety

Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping furnaces safe and operational. Homeowners should routinely check their furnace for signs of damage and excessive wear. Similarly, individuals should inspect their space heater each and every time it is plugged in. In both cases, strange smells (either electrical or smoky), sparks, uncontrolled heating, etc. are all signs that the unit is not functioning properly and that further use should be postponed until the unit is inspected by a trained and certified technician. Staying vigilant is the best way to ensure that a fire won't break out and that property and lives won't be lost.  

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