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Check These Things Before Starting Your Electric Heaters

Whether you own portable electric heaters, electric wall heaters and in fact any home heaters for that matter should make some simple checks before turning on these heaters. Especially so if these home heating appliances have not been used for some time due to the seasonal changes.

 

The predicted arrival of cooler weather by the first of the week might have some folks turning on their heat for the first time this season. And that could spark a fire if people aren’t careful, firefighters said.
 
“During the first cold snap, people will have things too close to their electric wall heaters,” Bristol, Va., Fire Chief J.C. Bolling said. “It may just be turned down, not turned off” and might kick on when temperatures drop.
 
The problem with that, he said, is the heat from the wall unit might ignite materials stored too close to the heater – furniture, loose clothing or papers.
 
“You need at least 36 inches of clearance from electric heaters,” he said.
 
electric portable heatersJack Spurgeon, assistant fire chief and fire marshal for Bristol, Tenn., said people should start checking the area around their wall heaters now to make sure the path is clear. He also said people with portable electric heaters should be sure to turn them off when they go to bed or leave the room that’s being heated.
 
Bolling said those heaters shouldn’t be plugged into a power strip – they should go directly into the wall – and also heaters should have a UL listing, which is provided by an independent electronics monitoring group.
 
Spurgeon said people with central heating and air might smell an odor when the heat is first turned on. He said the odor likely comes from the burning off of dust that has settled during the summer months.
 
“That smell should soon dissipate,” he said. “Don’t be alarmed when you first smell it.”
 
 
Spurgeon said chimneys should be inspected by a professional each year.
 
“Look at the fire box,” he said. “Make sure all the mortar joints look good. Put screens up over the hearth area so there are no sparks.”
 
In addition, Bolling said, wood burned in fireplaces should be seasoned. Fireplaces are not a place to burn trash, he said.
 
Both men said smoke detectors are a must in every home, and this time of year is appropriate to check the batteries in detectors.
 
“A really good detector costs about $10,” Bolling said. “That’s a $10 life insurance policy with a $2 premium two times a year when you change the batteries. And it will save your life.”
 
He said homes need a detector in each sleeping area and on each floor of the house.
 
Homes with gas-burning stoves or fireplaces need carbon monoxide detectors as well, he said.
 
Read the full article here:

Officials urge caution, checks before turning on heat

"Jack Spurgeon, assistant fire chief and fire marshal for Bristol, Tenn., said people should start checking the area around their wall heaters now to make sure the path is clear. He also said people with portable electric heaters should be sure to turn ..."

Safety in the home is a top priority for home owners and while these simple checks do not take you too much timeo, it is really a matter of good practice to remember to do them all the time. There have been too many cases of home fires, electric heating appliances' explosions due to ignorance of these safety measures. 

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