Heating Equipment is a Leading Cause of House Fires. Cooking is still the leading cause of house fires, but heating equipment is a close second. Heating equipment causes 16% of all house fires according to the Nation Fire Protection Association (NFPA). We did some research to share the causes of fires so that you can protect yourself, your family, and your property.
December, January, and February are the months in which most house fires occur due to heating equipment. This makes a lot of sense since those are typically the coldest months of the year. Heating equipment that hasn’t been used for a while is often dirty, which can increase the risk of fires.
Heating equipment includes:
- Forced Air Furnaces (gas and electric)
- Wall Furnaces
- Electric wall heaters
- Electric Heat Pumps
- Water Heaters (gas and electric)
- Space Heaters
- Heat Lamps
Of all of the types of heating equipment, space heaters are the leading cause of fires. Most of these fires are due to the placement of the space heater too close to combustibles. This can be curtains, clothing, bedding, or paper products. Fireplaces are the second leading cause of fires started by heating equipment. This can be due to chimney fires caused by lack of maintenance and embers exiting the fireplace.
Many fires caused by heating equipment are technically electrical fires. this can be from old electric water heaters and electric heat pumps that draw too much current. When combined with old electrical systems, the wires can overheat and cause a fire. Space heaters can also cause electrical fires when they run for extended periods of time. If a space heater is too small for the room in which they are located, they will never cycle off. This is common in older homes which may only have a wall furnace in the common living areas, but no heat in the bedrooms. Adding space heaters in each bedroom creates a large draw of electricity over and extended periods of time.
The number one reason that chimney fires start is due to a lack of cleaning. This is a common situation in San Diego where chimneys are never swept, and fireplaces are never maintained. The easiest way to avoid chimney fires is to have yours swept. Hiring a chimney sweep is not too expensive, and can save you from having a fire.
If you are interested in reading the full study, you can download it HERE.