For years, families have used alternative heating sources like space heaters and stoves to maintain warmth while reducing utility costs. However, alternative heat sources can present safety challenges for your family.
Space Heaters: Space heaters have been around for a long time and may be electric or kerosene.
Wood burning or pellet stoves: A wood burning stove uses dried wood and manufactured fire logs to release heat. Pellet stoves use a pellet-shaped product made of building waste materials such as sawdust.
Solid Fuel Units: Solid fuel units require more maintenance than other types of heating systems and regular maintenance is vital to their efficiency and safe operation.
Although professional maintenance is recommended at least annually, there are some areas you should review on a regular basis and when necessary, consult a professional:
Fireplaces: The fireplace is a traditional place to cozy up on a long winters night but maintenance is the key to keeping your family safe. Before the start of the heating season, have the chimney cleaned and inspected by qualified professional. Your chimney may need to be cleaned more than once a year depending on your individual use.
Finally, Make sure to store all fuel in a responsible manner to reduce the possibility of accidental ignition.
For additional general information about alternate heat resources check the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) at http://www.disastersafety.org or the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) at http://www.nfpa.org. For more information on specific stoves check the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov for any manufacturers recall notices on your stove, furnace or heating device.
Brad Hilliard, State Farm Public Affairs, (503) 463-3893
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