DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Temperatures in the 40s have some turning the setting on the thermostat over to heat for the first time this season, but for those who rely on other means to heat their home, they come with inherent risks.
A day that is on par with the first week of December has people bundling up or staying inside in the heat, but there are some things to consider when preparing a home for winter.
Space heaters are good for warming up a small room or office quickly, making them a popular option in the winter months, but they also are the number one cause of death among heating equipment fires. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters account for about 1,700 fires, 80 deaths and 160 injuries.
Scott Henry, safety educator with the Washington Township Fire Department said, “We always recommend that you plug it directly in the wall. So no extension cords, no multi outlets, directly in there, and then you want to keep everything away. We like to have a 3 foot circle around that space heater so that no blankets, curtains, anything rubs up against it”.
Ovens are great for heating food up, but is not built to warm a room. Henry says that ovens are made to keep heat in, and if they have to work harder, there is an increased fire risk. But there is another, invisible danger when a gas stove is used to heat a room.
Henry said, “With any gas burning or any fuel burning appliance you also have the risk of carbon monoxide as a byproduct of that heat and combustion, so we always recommend that people have a carbon monoxide detector, at least one on every level.”
Before using heating devices in the winter season, it is recommended to clean and inspect them.
Henry said, “Whether it is a furnace or a space heater, we want to make sure we change filters, we want to make sure we have fireplaces, chimneys, and flues inspected, have your furnace looked at. So anything that really is a mechanical device needs some upkeep. You don’t want to just keep using them until there is an issue.”