Winter Fires from Heating Sources. What Homeowners Can Do to Stay Safe.

Fires from heating sources is the second leading cause of winter fires in residential properties. An estimated 50,100 heating fires occur in homes in the United States each year. 87% of residential fires from heating are from a confined source such as chimneys, flues, or fuel burners. Why are these numbers so high? With the high cost of heating from oil, gas and electricity, homeowners are turning to alternative heating methods. Use of wood burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces has increased. The elderly and low income homeowners are especially at risk when temperatures fall. I worked a fatal fire a few years ago in which the elderly gentleman had covered all windows with plastic and he was using his gas stove for heat to warm his hands. He was wearing a loose shirt and his sleeve caught fire.

What causes fires from these heating sources? Combustibles, using green wood, burning trash, creosote buildup in fireplaces, using the incorrect fuel and damage to the heater can all cause fires. As I mentioned in the case of the elderly gentleman warming his hands, wearing loose clothing around open flames from a stove or a fireplace can easily catch fire. Be sure rugs aren’t too close to heating sources such as fireplaces, baseboard heating elements and space heaters. Don’t store clothing or other items on your heater. Be sure heating sources are free of debris and are cleaned. If you have a wood-burning fireplace have a chimney sweep clean it annually. For oil heating systems, have your system on a service contract and have it serviced/checked at least annually. If you notice a funny smell or a smoky or dirty look to the inside of your home, be sure to contact your heating service right away so the system can be checked for malfunctions. Inspect your space heaters for cracks, damaged legs, doors, hinges etc. Make sure permanent heating sources are installed properly.

What else can I do to prevent fire or at the least increase the chance of my surviving if one occurs? Homeowners should have a few fire extinguishers and know how to use them. One extinguisher should always be in the kitchen. Smoke detectors should be installed and maintained. Batteries should be changed every 6 moths to one year. On a monthly basis test the smoke detector. Have a fire escape ladder and an escape plan. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do in case of fire and practice your escape plan often.

Fires are devastating and scary. The claims process can be overwhelming especially if a loved one is lost in a fire. My role as a Public Adjuster is to help you. I handle your claim for you from start to finish. I ensure you receive a fair settlement from your insurance company. A Public Adjuster can take the burden and stress from you so that you can get back to what is most important..living your life and spending quality time with your family. When disaster strikes, know that you have someone on YOUR side to protect you.

I am Michelle Murphy, licensed and bonded Public Adjuster in the State of Pennsylvania. I have been working in this industry for four years in the Pocono, Slate Belt and Lehigh Valley regions. I am pleased to be a part of one of the largest companies in Pennsylvania, Citizens Public Adjusters, and look forward to helping people who have been the victims of fires. Feel free to call me at 570-730-8607 if you have any questions concerning fire damage to your home or business.  Come visit me and “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster/186668698043821

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 Responses to “Winter Fires from Heating Sources. What Homeowners Can Do to Stay Safe.”

  1. Just moved in to a new home with a wood/coal burner and it all feels a bit sooty. A friend has advised i should have chimney swept, can everyone recommend someone and what’s it prone to cost me?.

  2. michelle says:

    You should have your chimney/stove/burner cleaned and serviced at the start and end of the winter season. Typically in September or October depending on when temps cool down, and then again in spring when you plan on no longer using the heat source is when you want to have service done. Keep your receipts and if possible get on a service plan. For insurance purposes, having the system maintained and cleaned keeps you within the conditions of the policy (contract) so that IF an issue arises such as a puffback, you have the documentation the carrier will require. Carriers require proof you are maintaining your heating systems because they will not pay out on a claim if you have a recurring problem (ie every time I use my stove. every time it rains), it must be sudden and accidental.

  3. I can sweep out the soot with no issue, but I had this thick layer of dry tar for some time in my own chimney which can’t scrape off with a chimney brush or with the Chimney Sweeping Log. Most of that tar is hard like concrete and is in the lower horizontal part and sticks to the wall and won’t come off. What are the other types of removing this tar?.

  4. michelle says:

    For something like that, you really need to seek out a professional chimney sweep.

  5. Hiya! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

  6. some times its a pain in the ass to read what website owners wrote but this internet site is real user genial! .

  7. Good day! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice info you may have here on this post. I will likely be coming back to your blog for extra soon.

  8. I’m really impressed together with your writing skills as well as with the format in your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon to look a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  9. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid different customers like its aided me. Good job.

  10. I used to be very pleased to search out this net-site.I needed to thanks in your time for this glorious learn!! I definitely having fun with each little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  11. In this grand pattern of things you actually secure an A just for effort. Where you misplaced me personally ended up being on your specifics. As people say, the devil is in the details… And it could not be more true in this article. Having said that, let me reveal to you just what exactly did do the job. Your article (parts of it) can be quite convincing and that is most likely why I am taking an effort to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, although I can notice the jumps in reasoning you make, I am not really sure of how you seem to connect the details that make the actual conclusion. For the moment I will yield to your position but wish in the foreseeable future you link the dots better.

  12. yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a risky conclusion great post! .

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>