Using Alternative Heat Safely

fire dangerWhen talking to a friend the other day, she was telling me about a neighbor or hers that is using alternative heating sources from here on out to avoid the rising cost of propane. Their current propane tank is completely empty and they are a family of 5.

I am all for saving money… I mean who isn’t right? Having a family of 5 myself, I am willing to make a few sacrifices to save on the budget, AS long as it doesn’t put my family or home risk that is! I have no reason to doubt that this family is not being safe, but I felt compelled to write this blog!

We are almost to the end of it friends, but with March still ahead of us I wanted to run over some basic tips for using alternative heating sources in your home (or office) safely.

  • Use Caution with portable space heaters – Heating equipment is the leading cause of fires during the winter months. About two-thirds of home heating fire deaths are caused by portable or fixed space heaters.
  • To prevent fire, place heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets and people.
  • Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Don’t leave children or pets unattended near space heaters.
  • Drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters is a HUGE fire hazard
  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working properly and replace batteries as necessary.
  • Have your chimney connections and flues inspected by a professional (if you are in need of a professional chimney company and don’t know who to use, give us a call for a recommendation) and cleaned if necessary prior to the start of every heating season.
  • Use a sturdy fireplace screen when burning fires. Burn only wood – NEVER burn paper or pine boughs.
  • Do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
  • Always operate portable generators outdoors – never inside, including the basement or garage. Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring, leave that work to a professional electrician and buy a generator designed for that purpose. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Connecting a cord from the generator to a point on the permanent wiring system and back-feeding power to your home is an unsafe method to supply a building with power.
  • Don’t overload your electrical outlets. Be Careful of extension cords that present hazardous walkways.

Prevent Frozen Pipes from Inconsistent Heat

A downfall of using alternative heat for your home also is inconsistency. With inconsistent heat in areas of your home you are at a higher risk to having pipes freeze. Here are just a few tips to help prevent frozen pipes when using alternative heat sources. (I have posted a few blogs recently on frozen pipes if you are looking for more information on this!)

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up and out of the reach of children.
  • When the temperature is very low outside, let the cold-water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes in exterior walls. Running water through the pipe (even a trickle) helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
  • When using your furnace or alternative heat you should be careful not to let the temperature of your home get lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stay safe and warm fellow Minnesotans! Spring is almost in the air!!!

Many Blessings,


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