Officials warn of unsafe heating techniques

Posted at 9:26 PM, Dec 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-28 23:26:13-05

SALT LAKE CITY -  When temperatures drop, homeowners pull out space heaters and other alternative heating sources. Firefighters says if misused, heaters can become hazards.

Salt Lake City Fire Department says they plan for at least one house fire caused by a space heater.

“A lot of people are looking for ways to heat their home,” says Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesperson Jasen Asay. “A lot of people will use a wood burning fire place or space heater, those are the typical ones.”

Asay says if people do use space heaters, they should allow plenty of buffer room. At least three feet is needed to keep furniture or curtains from catching fire.

“When the space heater is on, it’s important to be in the same room,” says Asay. “But when we leave the room, we should turn off the space heater.”

Homeowners will also misuse ovens, grills and other appliances to heat their home and keep warm. Asay says it’s important to only use heating devices to warm the home, and use them appropriately.

The National Fire Prevention Association offers the following additional tips when heating your home:

  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • 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.