Home Heating Fire Safety Issues. NEW HAMPSHIRE DIVISION OF FIRE SAFETY. NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE. Special thanks to the Vermont Division of Fire Safety for providing slides for the presentation. Division of Fire Safety . BACKGROUND. BACKGROUND FACTS.
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Fire Safety Issues
DIVISION OF FIRE SAFETY
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE
In the 1970s and early 1980s, New Hampshire residents attempted to reduce their heating expenses by using more wood stoves and alternative heating devices.
Data from NFPA indicates a 35,000- fire increase in one- and two-family dwelling heating fires from 1979 to 1980 alone.
Heating oil and gasoline costs continue to be high, New Hampshire citizens are looking for alternative solutions to heating their homes during the upcoming winter season.
Many are again turning to space heaters, fireplaces and wood burning stoves to help save money, which can be effective cost saving alternatives, but also present significant fire dangers if not properly installed and maintained.
We have already seen a big increase in wood and pellet stove sales over this summer. It is projected that we will see also see an increase in residential fires as well as carbon monoxide incidents because of the increased use of alternative heating devices.
In light of our current situation, the New Hampshire Division of Fire Safety and the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, have joined forces in an proactive educational approach to inform the citizens of both states about safety precautions, to keep their families safe and warm.
HOW DO WE PREVENT INJURIES, LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY DAMAGE ?
EARLY WARNING AND EDUCATION
Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires in New Hampshire. Very often heating related fires are the result of improper installation, a lack of maintenance, or simple acts of carelessness.
Non-catalytic Multi-chamber Stove
Compared to conventional wood stoves, EPA certified wood stoves are up to 70% more efficient and uses 30% less wood.
Catalytic stoves. These stoves use a catalytic
combustor that operates on the same principle as the catalytic converter in your car.
Advanced combustion woodstoves provide a lot of heat but only work efficiently when the fire burns at full throttle. Also known as secondary burn stoves, they can reach temperatures of 1100°F.
the firebox is insulated, which reflects heat back to it, ensuring that the turbulent gases stay hot enough to burn. New advanced combustion stoves have advertised efficiencies of 60%–72%.
Catalytic combustors need to be inspected at least three times every heating season and replaced according to the manufacturer\'s recommendations.
The catalytic cell is removable and replaceable and costs between $75 and $160.
Because a lot of energy can be wasted burning wet wood, you should use wood that has been properly seasoned.
Properly seasoned wood is harvested in the spring and allowed to dry throughout the summer. Look for wood that is of even color, without any green. It should have a moisture content of just over 20%–25% by weight.
Pellet stoves. Some stoves burn fuel pellets manufactured from wood or other biomass.
With a pellet stove, you load batches of
fuel into a hopper. A motorized auger, controlled by a dial or thermostat, then moves the pellets into the stove as needed. A small fan controls air flow in the combustion process.
Pellet stoves, like the other stove types, have advantages and disadvantages.
a pellet stove is often cheaper to install than a cordwood-burning heater. Many can be direct-vented and do not need an expensive chimney or flue. As a result, the installed cost of the entire system may be less than that of a conventional wood stove.Pellet Stoves
Pellet appliances are more complex and have expensive components that can break down. They also require electricity to run fans, controls, and pellet feeders.
For pellet-fuel appliances, it is very important to follow the manufacturer\'s instructions for operation and maintenance. Inspect fans and motors regularly, and maintain them properly.
You can check pellet fuel quality by inspecting the bag for excessive dirt and dust. (Dirt can form clinkers in the stove.) There should be less than one half of a cup of dust at the bottom of a 40 pound (18 kg) bag. Pellet stoves designed for low-ash (typically top-fed stoves) tend to operate poorly when used with pellets of a higher ash content.
Even though electric space heaters don\'t have an open flame, the heating elements of some types of electric heaters are hot enough to ignite nearby combustibles like draperies, paper, clothing, furniture, and flammable liquids. It is, therefore, important to check surrounding objects
Only use heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety listing. Read and follow all instructions in the owner\'s manual.
The heater should be placed on the floor, away from combustible materials, and out of high-traffic areas.
Never put anything on top of your space heater.
Never leave the heater unattended or with unsupervised children.
Electric heaters should be unplugged if you go to bed or leave the house.
Plug the heater directly into the wall. Don\'t use an extension cord, Don\'t overload your outlets. do not insert more than two plugs into one outlet.
DFS PHOTO BY B. SUTHERLAND
NFPA 54 Chapter 10
“In areas where heavy snowfall is anticipated, piping, regulators, meters, and other equipment installed in the piping system shall be protected from the forces anticipated as a result of accumulated snow.”
CODES & STANDARDS FOR WOODBURNING / LIQUID FUEL HEATING
(1) The fireplace opening is sealed.
(2) The chimney flue that vents the
fireplace is permanently sealed below
9.8.3 Gas utilization appliances and appliances burning liquid fuel shall be permitted to be connected to one chimney flue through separate openings or shall be permitted to be connected through a single opening, provided they are joined by a suitable fitting located as close as practicable to the chimney and provided both of the following apply:
(1) Sufficient draft is available for the safe combustion of each appliance and for the removal of all products of combustion.
(2) The appliances so connected are equipped with primary safety controls and all appliances are located in the same room.
Appliances listed for installation with clearances less than specified in Table 12.6.1 of NFPA 211 shall be permitted to be installed in accordance with the terms of their listing and the manufacturer\'s instructions.
SAFETY OF WOODBURNING / HEATING APPLIANCES
A common hazard is the storage of combustible materials where they can be ignited by heat radiated by a furnace, stove, or other heating appliance.
Association (NFPA) has established guidelines for chimney connectors and clearances. In NFPA 211
Every year, preferably before each heating season, have a certified chimney sweep inspect your wood-burning system.
In addition to cleaning the chimney, a certified chimney sweep should have the knowledge to help make sure your appliance, hearth, connecting pipe, air inlets, chimney, and all other components are functioning efficiently and safely.
A chimney is a critical part of your wood heating system. It carriers smoke out of the house, and creates the suction or draft necessary to draw air to the fire. A well designed chimney allows the stove to operate cleanly, producing a minimum amount of smoke and creosote.
Chimney height is critical to creating proper draft and meeting fire codes. The chimney should extend at least three feet above the point where it exits the roof, and should be a minimum of two feet higher than any part of the roof within ten feet.
All chimneys require regular inspection for deterioration and creosote buildup. The chimney should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, as often as biweekly if you use your wood stove daily.
OTHER HOME SAFETY ISSUES
RSA 153:10-a Fire Protection and Warning Devices in Multi-Family Dwellings. –
I. Each unit contained in a multi-unit dwelling shall be equipped with automatic fire warning devices. On every floor level and in each common stairway and in each common hallway of a multi-unit dwelling, there shall be an automatic warning device.
II. Every single family dwelling which is built or substantially rehabilitated after January 1, 1982, shall be equipped with an automatic fire warning device.
II-a. Every rental unit as defined in RSA 153:1, IX-a shall be equipped with at least one automatic fire warning device. An automatic fire warning device shall be located in each hallway or area which is adjacent to a sleeping area. The provisions of this paragraph shall be in addition to any requirements under paragraph II. The owner of the rental unit shall be responsible for maintaining the automatic fire warning device in a suitable condition.
New One & Two Family Dwellings
International Residential Building Code 2006 has similar language.
Careless Use of Smoking Materials and Matches.
Housekeeping, Storage, and Rubbish Hazards.
Residential Automatic Sprinkler Systems.
This material was compiled by the New Hampshire and Vermont Divisions of Fire Safety from a variety of sources including
Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States Fire Administration
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of Energy
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
American Gas Association.
Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Information Center
American Red Cross
Underhill-Jericho Fire Dept. woodstove inspectionprogram
Have a Fire Safe Day