While the days of backyard BBQs and pool parties are behind us, there’s a lot to look forward to as the crisp fall air arrives. Curling up fireside with a cup of hot cocoa and loved ones is high on the list, but before you get cozy in front of the fireplace, be aware of seasonal dangers that can affect you and your family.
“Because most heating appliances haven’t been used for several months, it’s important for homeowners to take precautions before the season’s first use,” said Allison Hawkins, Manager, Corporate Affairs, CSA Group. “By conducting routine appliance inspections early, you can relax and enjoy fall’s highlights, like colourful leaves, pumpkin carving and keeping warm with family.”
CSA Group, a leader in public safety, testing and certification, reminds consumers to make sure gas appliances and heaters are in good working order with the following tips:
Around the home:
- Silent killer: Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and lethal gas that can occur when there is incomplete combustion or poor venting. Homes that use fuel burning appliances, such as a fireplace, space heaters or a furnace should have a carbon monoxide alarm in addition to a smoke alarm. Look for a certification mark, such as the CSA Group mark, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and maintenance of your alarms.
- Don’t get burned: Be sure to install smoke alarms on every level of your home, and choose a suitable power source: battery, plug-in or hardwired. Some plug-in and hardwired models have a battery backup so that the alarm will sound even if the electrical power is shut off. Keep in mind you do need to change the batteries at least twice a year; we recommend doing so at beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.
- Leave it to the pros: Installation, maintenance and repair of gas appliances should only be done by a qualified professional service person. With high temperatures and risk of ignition, never store or use combustible materials, such as chemicals, paint, rags, clothing, draperies, paper, cleaning products, gasoline or flammable vapours and liquids in the vicinity of gas appliances.
- Yearly checkup: Have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your gas furnace and ventilation system, and be sure to clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating season.
- Fire’s not burning: 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.
- Pee-yew: Stay alert for unusual odours 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 and evacuate and ventilate the area.
- Hand’s off: Keep children, pets and combustibles away from hot glass surfaces to avoid burns or the possibility of clothing catching on fire.
For more tips and consumer information, including a video on carbon monoxide safety, visit Safety Tips.
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.
Manager, Corporate Affairs