Autumn Is In The Air: Keep It Toasty Without Getting Burned

CSA Group offers 10 tips for hibernating safely this season

The leaves are turning color, the air is cooling and folks are heading indoors for warmth. To keep toasty this season, many hibernators will be lighting gas fireplaces and furnaces. But before flipping the switch, it’s important to check that gas appliances are still in good working order.

“With Fire Prevention Week 2013 kicking off on Sunday, October 6, now is a good time for homeowners to become aware of how to minimize the risks that can be related to gas fireplaces and furnaces,” said Anthony Toderian, Manager, Corporate Affairs, CSA Group. “On average, 15 per cent of all reported home fires in the U.S. are related to heating equipment1. Since most heating appliances haven’t been used for several months, homeowners should take precautions before the season’s first use.”

CSA Group, a leader in public safety, testing and certification, offers the following 10 safety tips for keeping warm this season:

Important home safety:

1.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and lethal gas that can occur when there is incomplete combustion or poor venting. Homes that use fuel burning appliances, such as a fireplace or furnace, should have a CSA Group-certified carbon monoxide alarm installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions in addition to a smoke alarm.

General gas appliance:

2.  Installation, maintenance and repair of gas appliances should only be done by a qualified professional service person.

3.  Due to high temperatures and risk of ignition, do not store or use combustible materials, such as chemicals, paint, rags, clothing, draperies, paper, cleaning products, gasoline or flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of gas appliances.

4.  If purchasing a new gas heating appliance, be sure to look for a certification mark, such as the CSA Star certification mark to ensure it has been tested to the applicable standards for safety and performance.

Gas furnace maintenance:

5.  Have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system.

6.  Clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating season.

7.  Ensure there is free air flow around your furnace and there are no storage items obstructing air flow and keep vents, space heaters and baseboards clear of furniture, rugs and drapes to allow free air movement.

Gas fireplace maintenance:

8.  If the pilot light or flame goes out on a gas fireplace, turn the gas off and wait five minutes or more (see the manufacturer’s instructions) before attempting to relight the fireplace. This allows time to clear the fireplace of gas, particularly important with direct-vent models.

9.  Do not use abrasive cleaners, and always refer to manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning glass components of your fireplace.

10.  Be alert for unusual odors or flames when your gas fireplace is on, often indicating that the fireplace is not operating properly. In such cases, contact your dealer or licensed technician for servicing. Contact the gas company or emergency services if you smell gas when the unit is off.

1 National Fire Protection Association, “NFPA’s “Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment”,” September 2012.http://www.nfpa.org/research/statistical-reports/major-causes/heating-equipment

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


Anthony Toderian
Manager, Corporate Affairs
CSA Group
[email protected]


October 1, 2013