Supplemental Heating Equipment Can Add Warmth but also Danger in the Home

Pacific Coast Home Services Offers Safety Tips as a Part of National Fire Safety Month

SAN JOSE, Oct. 6th, 2020 – October is National Fire Safety month, and Pacific Coast Home Services is celebrating it by providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know.  This is the third of five releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: eliminating home fires due to supplemental heating equipment.

According to the Home Safety Council, the second leading cause of home fires is supplemental heating equipment, such as portable heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces.

“If something combustible is placed too close to one it can catch fire due to the radiant heat or sparks from a fire,” Raymond Porras, Field Advisor of Pacific Coast Home Services, said.  “That’s why we warn so many people about using portable heaters in bedrooms, especially considering they will be asleep and unable to react should a fire occur.”

Here are some home safety tips relating to supplemental heating equipment that everyone should know:

  • Never leave a heater working if you are out of the room or asleep.
  • Purchase space heaters and other electrical equipment and woodstoves that have been tested for safety and listed by a testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Make sure that portable heaters have a tip-over feature that will automatically turn it off if tipped over.
  • Read operating instructions before use and keep the instructions handy for referral.
  • Use space heaters that have guards that help prevent combustible items from coming in contact with heating elements.
  • Move all combustibles three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, and woodstoves when in use.
  • Closely supervise children so they stay a safe distance away from the woodstove, fireplace, or space heater when in use.
  • Install woodstoves in compliance with local building and fire codes.
  • Install a barrier between the woodstove and the floor to protect combustible flooring from extreme heat.
  • Have fireplace and woodstove chimneys inspected each year and cleaned of built-up creosote as needed.
  • Have chimney connectors inspected every year and cleaned as necessary.
  • Keep a sturdy screen in front of the fireplace opening to keep hot embers inside.
  • Maintain a safety distance of three feet for all combustibles from the furnace and water heater also.
  • Have your furnace serviced each year before the heating season.
  • Store volatile products such as paint thinner in the garage or shed away from the house.
  • Gasoline is highly flammable and should never be brought into the home.  It should be stored in an approved gasoline container in a garage or shed, away from children’s hands.

Of course, another safety concern of portable heaters is the extension cords used with them.  Extension cords should not be coiled up while plugged in, and they should not be underneath carpet or rugs: both are major fire hazards.

For more information on Pacific Coast Home Services, please visit or call (408) 508-6372.