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Reducing Fire Hazards This Winter

If you have any type of heat source or household appliances, there are always hazards to avoid. It’s our goal at Magic Sweep to keep our neighbors in the Tidewater area safe and warm every winter. We’ve served the area for over 35 years and in that time have become familiar with many of the fire hazards our customers might overlook.

The Cluttered Hearth

If you have a fireplace, furnace, or other heat appliance it should be professionally installed to insure it is not too close to walls or other home installments that can interact with the heat. Also, the area should be kept clean of debris, decorations, and furniture that can ignite. This includes ALL fuel types!

Pro Tip: If furniture feels hot near your fireplace after an hour, you should move the furniture back from it.

A Clogged Chimney

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends regular chimney sweeps to insure the fireplace or appliance and chimney are clean and clear of debris, soot, and creosote (all of which are highly flammable).

Pro Tip: If your fireplace is consistently smoky, difficult to light, or generally less efficient you may have a flue obstruction or another problem that can raise fire risk.

A Clogged Dryer Vent

A fire hazard often overlooked in today’s age of convenience is the dryer vent. This hose that runs from the back of the clothes dryer to your wall vents hot air, water vapor, harmful gases, and lint. If given the chance to buildup (most often caused by angles in the vent or a defective exterior flap) this highly flammable lint can ignite. There were over 5,000 house fires caused from clothes dryers in 2012, and the Chimney Safety Institute of America has even created CSIA Certified Exhaust Technician® training in an effort to further keep families and homes safe from fire.

Pro Tip: Have your clothes dryer professionally installed. Most companies offer free installation or a discounted installation if you pay for delivery.

Improper Use of Cooking Appliances

Avoid using cooking appliances for anything other can cooking. Always keep towels, cookbooks, plastic cooking tools, and pot holders away from flames or burners. Never leave a stove unattended, and never use an oven to heat clothes, shoes, gloves, or anything else.

Pro Tip: Check the oven for food debris, dishes, or any other items before turning it on for cooking (especially if you have children who may hide items in the stove).

Other Dysfunctional Heat Appliances

Be aware of your other home appliances that use heat and how they work, especially if they’re new or you’re new to the home. For instance, hot water heaters and dish washing machines can become a fire hazard if the water source is compromised do to a water clog, leak, or if it’s frozen.

Pro Tip: Have these appliances professionally installed and check them regularly. If your “dishwasher safe” items show signs of melting, have the system checked for too little water.

Always put safety first when it comes to heat in the home—that means ALL heat! Magic Sweep wants to see you safe and comfortable this winter.

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