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Tips for Safe Heating Alternatives

On the Home Heating Safety Thermostat – Are You in the Hot Zone?

Tips for Safe Heating Alternatives

While the Department of Energy forecasts home heating costs will drop by 8 percent this year, Philadelphia families may not experience much relief – the city tops Forbes’ list of most expensive places to heat a home.

To help Philadelphia families safely navigate high energy costs but also avoid potential dangers associated with home heating, follow these safety tips for alternative heating methods:

1.    Is it three feet from the heat? Flammable items like drapes and furniture should be kept at least three feet away from heating equipment or heat sources.

2.    Are they supervised? Keep children and pets from playing near any heating equipment.

3.    Has it been tested for safety? The UL Mark means a product has been tested to UL’s stringent safety standards and found to be free of foreseeable hazards.

4.    Is it automatic? Look for automatic shut-off features and heating element guards when buying space heaters.

5.    Is it turned off? Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed, and never place them in an area where a person is sleeping unsupervised.

6.    Where’s the screen? Make sure fireplaces have a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.

7.    Are you burning damp wood? Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Wood that is green has more moisture and is likely to smolder, leading to more creosote buildup in chimneys (which poses a greater risk of fire).

8.    Is it being used properly? Never use cooking stoves, grills or gas ovens to heat a room or home. They could potentially cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

9.    Is it safe to place indoors? Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is only used in a well-ventilated area or outside to avoid carbon monoxide exposure.

10.  Has it been inspected? Maintain all heating equipment (furnaces, chimneys, water heater, etc.) by having them inspected, cleaned and fixed annually by a trained professional.


If using space heaters, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) suggests consumers do so with extreme caution – of all fires and injuries related to home heating, 73 percent and 43 percent, respectively, result from improper use of these devices. Think it’s safe and easy to gently warm the home by starting a small fire in the fireplace? Think again. Unfortunately, failure to clean a chimney or flue is the leading cause of all home heating equipment fires combined.


Underwriters Laboratories (UL), is the leading independent safety testing organization