When the winter chill sets in, most homeowners utilize a variety of heating sources, such as space heaters, wood-burning fires, or create a cozy ambiance of candles. But safety should be top of mind when these are used since they pose a risk as potential fire hazards. Keep your family and home safe this winter season by practicing the utmost caution when using home heating equipment. 

Wood-Burning Fires & Chimneys

A functional fireplace is a nostalgic and comforting home feature, but it can also be quite dangerous if not used properly. Annual professional cleanings and precautions during each use will help your fireplace remain a positive focal point of your home and not a fire hazard. Make sure remnants of fires are cleaned up after each use, because they are still flammable and can ignite unintentionally.

Install a spark guard, such as a glass or stainless steel fireplace shield, to keep embers from flying out of the fireplace and into your home. Burn wood like ash, birch, maple or oak that contain less sap and don’t produce as much soot. Don’t overload the fireplace with too many logs or an excessively large fire. This can cause damage to the chimney if it overheats and increases the chances of a log becoming dislodged from the pile and rolling out. 

Ensure the fire is extinguished before you leave your home or go to bed. Never leave a lit fireplace unattended, especially when children are present.

Space Heaters

Space heaters are great for quickly warming up a small area of your home, but they should be used responsibly. Keep space heaters away from flammable items, such as clothing, decorations, and furniture. As with all heat sources, they should have a three-foot perimeter around them. Turn heaters off when you leave a room or go to bed. Use heaters with an automatic shut-off option if it overheats, runs for an extended period of time or tips over. Never use an extension cord for space heaters; always plug the cord directly into an outlet.


The holiday season is particularly dangerous when it comes to candle-related home fires. Candles should never be lit on or right near a Christmas tree. Keep candles out of reach for children and pets, and make sure all decorations are at least three feet from the flame.

Make sure candles are set on in non-flammable containers and surfaces. Extinguish candles when you leave a room, even if you plan to return, it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget about a lit candle.

Place candles in a safe location where they are unlikely to be knocked over.

General Safety

Keep fire extinguishers on-hand. This includes one in your kitchen and near any major heat sources, such as a wood-burning fireplace.

Make sure every floor of your home and bedroom has a functioning smoke detector. The fire death rate in homes without working smoke detectors is twice as high as the rate for homes with functional detectors.   

About Sine Insurance

At Sine Insurance Group, we are dedicated to providing you with custom-tailored insurance policies to protect your assets. Our comprehensive packages have been expertly crafted to serve St. Louis and the surrounding areas for the past 25 years. For more information about our products, contact us today at (636) 947-1177.