Getting Answers: home heating safety ahead of cold months

With temperatures starting to dip as we settle into fall, Western Mass News is getting answers on home heating safety.
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 3:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:37 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - With temperatures starting to dip as we settle into fall, Western Mass News is getting answers on home heating safety. State fire officials are sending a warning to people to take precautions when using fuel-based heating devices at home.

State fire investigators want people to know that 1,400 residential fires are caused each year in Massachusetts due to the improper use of home heating equipment. In western Massachusetts, we found many people recognize the dangers associated with some of the cheaper alternatives.

“Well, the newer ones are very safe because if they tip, they’ll shut off. Anything gets in front, they’ll shut off. With the old styles, you put them next to curtains or in your bedroom, it’s a potential fire hazard,” said Jack Francisco of Chicopee.

“I live in Springfield Housing Authority property and they banned them from being there because a lot of fires were caused by that,” said Dennis Walter of Springfield.

Western Mass News is getting answers on how to keep your home safe this winter. East Longmeadow Fire Capt. Christopher Beecher said that those with using space heaters should make sure they have enough room to operate.

“We always say space heaters need space. We always say three feet of space around any space heater to make sure no combustible materials are located near it,” Beecher noted.

If you’re thinking about enjoying a cozy night by the fireplace, you should make sure the chimney is clean. Beecher suggested an annual cleaning will get the job done.

“Make sure your chimney is cleaned by a professional, that it’s inspected for cracks or breaks in the brick and mortar…We always say that the chimney should be checked and cleaned every year,” Beecher noted.

Another danger with home heating appliances is the increased chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. Beecher told us to always make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working condition.

“We always suggest, of course, that you have working carbon monoxide alarms or smoke alarms. Anytime those are activated, you always want to call 911,” Beecher added.

Other than the alternative heating appliances there is another way to save money. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps eligible households pay a portion of their heating bills.