The colder months of the year make you dependent on heating in your apartment in order to be comfortable. However, if you’re not careful you could expose yourself to these heating-related dangers:
1. Improper Use of Portable Heaters
Portable heaters are a great method of heating a small area of your apartment at the fraction of the cost of cranking up your thermostat. However, it’s important that you use portable heaters safely. Portable heaters, especially gas-fueled heaters, can cause fires when knocked over or when operated too closely to combustible furnishings. Make sure pets and children stay away from heaters and take care not to knock them over yourself.
Never leave a portable heater running unattended or overnight and to be safe, turn off and unplug the heater when not in use. Make sure the heater is resting on a hard surface (not carpeting or a rug) and is several feet away from furnishing and clutter. It’s safer to run a heater on the ground, as it’s more likely to fall over if placed on a shelf or table. Heat rises regardless.
2. Clutter in Front of Heating Vents
When using your apartment furnace for heating, the warm air needs to circulate throughout your apartment via vents. In order to use the furnace effectively, all of your apartment’s vents need to be open and exposed. Do not put furniture in front of vents and make sure clutter is not located within several feet of the vents. In extreme cases, combustible clutter pushed up against a heating vent may catch fire.
3. Fireplace Mistakes
Some apartments have fireplaces for extra heating—either traditional log-and-fire, or gas- or electric-powered. Gas- and electric-powered fireplaces present many of the same dangers as portable heaters of the same fuel source. Unplug them when not in use and don’t run them overnight or while unattended. Keep clutter, kids and pets several feet away from them.
Likewise, follow the applicable tips for traditional wood-burning fireplaces. However, remember the additional dangers of a live fire. Wear a fireproof glove and use fireplace tongs when adding wood to or stoking the fire. Keep the fire small and only use seasoned firewood to fuel the fire. Make sure to have your air inlets open to let smoke outside and have a professional regularly inspect and clean your ventilation system in order to prevent soot buildup. Last but not least, make sure that there’s a mesh screen in front of the fireplace to keep sparks from flying out.
4. Using an Oven to Help Heat the Apartment
You may be tempted to get some heating in your kitchen and surrounding areas by turning on the oven and leaving the door open. This can prove a disaster for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s possible that your oven gives off carbon monoxide during the cooking process, which is dangerous for you to breathe in mass quantities. You can also burn yourself if you stumble and touch the open oven. It’s especially dangerous to have an oven door open when you have pets or children around.