Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Wool socks and peace of mind

Oct. 22, 2018

A blanket on a space heater catching fire


A chilly fall morning, bare feet on tile, and maybe you haven’t turned the furnace on yet. But puttering around in your cold kitchen is turning you into a human Popsicle, so why not open the oven door and turn it on? It is, after all, a heat source – and what could it hurt?

Or maybe you have a space heater and you’ve just come in from the rain. Your clothes are soaked and you’re desperate to get them warm and dry. Seems like it would be effective to drape them over the space heater for a few minutes, right?

And that furnace. Getting it inspected is on your to-do list, sure, but you really don’t feel like shelling out the money to have someone come look at it. Besides, you’ve had it turned on for a couple of weeks now and everything has been fine. It would probably be safe to skip the inspection this year, wouldn’t it?

Perhaps this statistic will answer those three questions: Heating equipment is involved in one in every seven reported U.S. home fires. The answers are, respectively: You, wrong, and no. Ovens should never be used as heat sources; remember the three children who died in a 2015 Minneapolis fire started by an oven? Space heaters should always be plugged directly into the wall (no extension cords, please) and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. That includes your wet clothes. And yes, get your furnace inspected every year. They’re like cars: They don’t function correctly unless they’re well-maintained.

Sometimes, though, you do everything right. You stay in the kitchen while your food is cooking, you use flameless candles, you get your fireplace cleaned every year – but fires can still start. Which is why you need working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test them once a month, replace the batteries every six months, and replace them every ten years. Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they work.

So put on your wool socks and check out our list of tips that can keep you safe and warm at home this winter. It’s easier to enjoy a warm house when you have some peace of mind.