Enjoy a safe and cozy winter

As temperatures drop and the annual hibernation routine begins, we start using heating appliances such as the furnace, fireplace, and space heaters for the first time in months. To avoid potential hazards, check every autumn that these are still in good condition and follow precautions for proper use.

CSA Group, a leader in public safety and testing and certification, offers the following safety tips for keeping warm on cold days:


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

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

• Keep the immediate area free of obstructions to ensure free air flow.

• Look for a certification mark such as the CSA star mark on your gas-fired furnace to ensure it has been tested and certified to the applicable standard.

• Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids near your gas furnace.

• Don’t store combustible materials such as paper, chemicals, paint, rags and cleaning products close to your gas furnace.

Gas fireplace

• Check that the glass panel is intact. Do not use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked or broken. Glass panels and frame assemblies should only be replaced by a qualified service person.

• Check for the mark of an accredited certification organization, such as the star mark from CSA Group when purchasing a gas fireplace.

Space heaters • Check for wear on the electrical cord. If it’s damaged, replace the entire unit or have the cord replaced by a qualified repair person.

• Keep it clean by dusting or vacuuming it regularly. Always turn the unit off first.

• Keep the heater clear of furniture, rugs and drapes to allow free air movement and avoid overheating.

• Look for certified third-party verification marks like CSA Group’s certification mark. This shows that the heater complies with recognized safety standards.

• Turn the heater down or off before going to sleep and keep it out of pathways and well away from bedding and clothes. Turn it off when leaving the house.

• Install a smoke alarm in the room with the space heater.

• Have work ing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed throughout the home.

You can find more safety tips at

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2013-12-05 digital edition

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