Home Heating / Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Nationally, Home Heating Equipment is a Leading Cause of Home Fires and Fire Deaths Each Year
Fast Facts to Know
- Nationally, an average of 70,000 home fires are caused by heating equipment each year. These fires cause on average each year: 600 deaths, more than 1,600 injuries, and almost $900-million in direct property loss.
- Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.
- Fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors account for the largest share of home heating fire incidents. Creosote build-up is the leading cause of chimney fires.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Haze a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
- CO is an invisible, odorless gas that is produced by burning wood, charcoal, natural gas, gasoline, propane, oil, methane, and other common fuels. Each year hundreds of people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by installing CO alarms in the home.
- If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call 911 from your fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrive.
- CO enters the body, undetected, through your breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with the flu, food poisoning, or other illness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath. Severe CO poisoning can also cause death.
- Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO - only use outside.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if the garage doors are open.
- A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
- Never use your oven to heat your home. Make sure your wood or coal-burning stove is properly ventilated directly into the chimney flue. Be sure the chimney flue is fully open when you use your fireplace. Have all chimneys cleaned and inspected once a year.
- Have your fuel-burning home heating system (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood and coal stoves) - including the flue- inspected by a professional before each heating season.
- Keep dryer, stove, furnace, and fireplace vents clear of ice, snow, dirt, leaves, and other debris.