Our collective interest was piqued by the unusually warm October days that beckoned one last glimmer of outdoor fun before we put on the coats, as well as the stunning fall foliage that enthralled us. The brief respite from the typically chilly autumn weather did not last very long, though. Before we had a chance to consider storing our summer clothing, the crisp, cool weather that is more typical for this time of year hit us hard, forcing renters, owners of condos, and drivers of cars, trucks, and vans to turn on the heat. The winds informed us that we would not be able to use the air conditioning system again until spring, if the rise in the mercury of the dependable thermometer is any indication…

With regard to fires, property damage, and general liability resulting from improper upkeep and use of heating sources, insurance companies and agencies across the nation have long dealt with claims and lawsuits. This primer is therefore appropriate for the period of climate change, when the warm sun of the so-called Indian summer gives way to the chilly winds of winter.

How to Avoid Home Heater Fire Risks

1. If you are a layperson, avoid putting on the technical expert’s hat. Keep the upkeep of your furnace or other heating system in the hands of experts who can reduce any fire risks.

2. Leave the traditional methods to dry your clothes and shoes. The top of a portable heater should not be covered with wet clothing. Avoid putting anything like this too close to the heater because it could start a fire.

3. In a room that has a space heater on, keep an eye on any kids or domestic animals present.

4. Check the electrical cord of your space heater frequently for any signs of damage, such as exposed wiring. Do not use if the cord shows signs of wear.

5. Never use newspaper or other flammable materials to start a fire in a fireplace or wood stove at home. Use a small amount of high-quality firewood that hasn’t been in contact with moisture instead to make it easier to control the ensuing fire. Additionally, this will guarantee that there is no dangerous tar and creosote buildup in your chimney or stove pipes, which could result in a house fire.

6. Maintain a safe distance between children and any heating fires.

7. All flammable liquids, such as paint or gas, should ideally be kept in a cool garage. Never place any heating source close to these fluids.

8. Remove lint from the filter both before and after drying your clothes in the dryer.

9. Consider the likely possibility of an electrical system malfunction if your fuses are blowing or your circuit breaker is causing home outages. Send the issue to a qualified and insured electrician for additional analysis and repair.

10. Test the smoke alarm in your home every month.

11. For the best protection against fire damage, make sure an insurance expert reviews your homeowner’s insurance. If your policy is not customized for your home, ask your agent to search the network for a more appropriate plan at a price that is competitively low.

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