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Pre-Season Heating Safety Inspection | Fire Prevention Week

Cassel Home Comfort is reminding homeowners this week to take extra heating safety precautions with their furnace/heating system in preparation for a cold Champaign winter.

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), “heating equipment is the second leading caused of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths.” In addition to addressing safety concerns with your heating system, a pre-season furnace/heating tune-up also increases energy efficiency to save you money on your utility bills. This is important considering that home heating accounts for about 30% of our total yearly energy costs.

heating and cooling energy bill percentage

This week is National Fire Prevention Week, with the theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.” The month of October is also Energy Action Month. The reason why there is so much focus on fire safety and energy awareness this month is because the temperatures are dropping fast and home heating is on the rise. Winter is the most common time for home fires, with people lighting candles, putting up holiday lights, cooking, and using their heating equipment nearly every day. In fact, half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January, and February (energy.gov).

Getting your heating system checked up in the fall helps prevent home fires and increases energy efficiency for the cooler months. Besides scheduling professional heating maintenance, here are some things you can do to get your furnace and heating system safe and ready for a Champaign winter.

Read our list of Natural Gas Furnace Hazards for tips on making your furnace safer and more efficient.

If you are thinking of replacing your gas furnace, read this Repair or Replace Furnace article to help you make the right decision.

Champaign Heating Safety Tips

  1. Things like fire places, space heaters, and furnace should be far way from anything even remotely flammable – at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn, like paper, drapes, and other cloth. Inspect your furnace to make sure that the area around it is clean and free of junk and debris. However, do not attempt to clean the components in your furnace; leave this to a professional. If you do open up your furnace panel for any reason, make sure power is shut off at the breaker box!
  2. Teach kids that areas near any heating source, like stovetops, ovens, furnace, radiators, and fireplaces are “no play” zones. Perhaps demarcate the zone with a mat or small rug.
  3. Do not use your oven or candles to heat a home.
  4. Have a qualified professional install and maintain your heating equipment. Not only will will they inspect your equipment for any safety hazards, but will clean the equipment, change the filter, etc.
  5. Have chimneys and heating equipment inspected every year by a professional. Creosote buildup in your chimney could result in a destructive chimney fire. Preventative maintenance stops problems before they start.
  6. Fuel-burning heat sources, like grills and furnaces should have proper ventilation to the outdoors. Never run a generator indoors, grill inside, or use unvented heating equipment. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your home. Have CO detectors outside of every sleeping area as well as in the garage. Click here for signs that you have a CO problem and tips to prevent carbon monoxide from forming in your home.
  7. Test and make sure that your smoke alarms are in working condition. Test them every month when you check you air filter. You can sign up for an email reminder here. Replace batteries every 6 months or so and replace all smoke alarms that are over 10 years old. Working smoke alarms reduce your risk of dying in a home fire by half!
  8. Go over your fire escape plan with the other members of your household. Make sure everyone knows where to meet in the event of an emergency. Follow the following steps from NFPA.org:
    1. Draw a map of your home. Show all doors and windows.
    2. Visit each room. Find two ways out.
    3. All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
    4. Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Push the test button to make sure each alarm is working.
    5. Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home. Everyone will meet at the meeting place.
    6. Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street. Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
    7. Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department.
    8. Practice your home fire escape drill (download NFPA’s escape planning grid (PDF, 1.1 MB))
  9. Learn how to use your fire extinguisher and make sure you have the right Class of fire extinguisher:

fire extinguisher guide

Watch this video from NFPA.org for more home heating safety tips:

Here are some additional resources from energy.gov for saving energy in your home and office:


Call us at (217) 866-1596 for more information and expert tips (available 24/7).

We’ll Get Your Castle Comfortable Again!

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