According to a survey conducted by Lowe''s Home Safety Council (LHSC) nearly half of American households use a space heater (48 percent), followed by wood burning stove (30 percent) to heat the home.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that home heating equipment fires are the third leading cause of fire deaths in American homes.
To prevent home fires from heating equipment, LHSC recommends all space heaters be kept at least 36 inches from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, clothing, pets and people.
Space heaters must not be left operating when you are not in the room or sleeping, and wood-burning stoves should always be placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot embers.
LHSC suggested that you check to see that all space heaters and wood burning stoves have been tested by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, such as UL.
LHSC also noted that 21 percent of respondents to its survey said the have used their oven to heat the home.
While ovens may be designed to cook safely with the room doors closed, they are not meant for extended heating, said LHSC.
Extended use of a cooking stove can cause surrounding wood or paneling to ignite, especially if there is leftover cooking grease on the stove.
Never use a charcoal or gas grill to heat your home, said LHSC. In addition to being a fire hazard, outdoor grills are a carbon monoxide hazard when brought into an enclosed space.
by Virginia Sutcliffe