photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Maintaining Your Gas Heater a Matter of Life and Death




December is supposed to bring another six cold fronts

By Karla Ortiz

With the cold impending, this is the time of year when people pull out gas and electric heaters and turn on their gas-operated fireplaces. But how safe is it to have one at home?

Director of San Miguel de Allende’s Civil Protection Department Franco Muñoz recommends taking precautions when purchasing a heater and checking that it complies with the National Safety Standards. If you already have a heater in your home, he recommends giving it regular maintenance to avoid accidents.

In the case of gas heaters, Muñoz advises verifying that the flame is not yellow or orange, which indicates by bad combustion or plugged ducts. The proper flame color should always be blue. And even following these recommendations, he stressed that the heater should be placed in a ventilated area.

Electric heaters may seem like a safer option, but they potentially come with their own dangers: “It is very nice to get to your room and just connect your heater and adjust it to the right temperature, but México has quite a few types of heaters that come from different countries and that do not have a trademark nor meet the Mexican Saffety Standard,” said Muñoz. “This is very dangerous because people sell a heater with deficiencies, such as a very thin electrical wire, which could cause a short circuit or a fire.”

When buying an electric heater, verify that the cable is thick, that the electrical material supports the heat it emits, that it comes with a registration and warranty, and that it is endorsed by the Mexican Safety Standard.

Portable electric or gas heaters don’t pose the only risk: even having a fireplace or heating stove lit for several hours can affect health or cause an accident.

Muñoz recommends using the heater only when one arrives home and heating only certain areas of the house. Once the room is warm (within 40 minutes to an hour), disconnect them, he says, in order to avoid a short circuit. In the case of a wood-burning fireplace or stove, he also advises verifying when turning it off that very well that at the time of extinguishing it, there are no live embers remaining, since those are the small beginnings of house fires. Whenever fireplaces or wood stoves are lit, the area should be well ventilated to prevent the smoke from the wood affecting the lungs.

It is also suggested that if you leave a house where the heater has been on, to leave bundled up, as drastically changing body temperature can cause illness or pain. If possible, turn off the heater half an hour before leaving. And disconnect any electrical appliance, including electric heaters, verify that the fireplace is properly extinguished, and in the case of gas heaters, verify that there is no leakage. If possible, leave the heater’s stopcock well closed.

In case of an a short circuit or gas leak, Franco recommends removing children and pets from the home and immediately calling an expert, as you may be dealing with electrical appliances that could generate sparks.

Other recommendations to take into account

Among the official suggestions for the cold season made by the Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil (National Civil Protection Office), we find:

-Ventilate fireplaces, wood and gas stoves, heaters, and burners. Take care that children do not approach these spots.

-Warm up properly, covering the mouth and nose to avoid inhaling cold air.

-Eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A and C. Drink plenty of fluids.

-Avoid driving or walking on slippery roads in the presence of sleet or freezing rain.

-Be especially careful with children and older adults, as they are the most vulnerable to low temperatures.

-Do not stay for prolonged periods inside a running, unmoving vehicle. Without ventilation, you could inhale deadly amounts of carbon monoxide from the vehicle’s gas supply.

-Show extreme caution in the presence of strong winds. Keep informed through the media about the weather forecast.

For this Christmas season, Franco also recommends to be careful with using extensions with Christmas lights, making sure to place them properly in their sockets to avoid a short circuit or fire.

“Take these precautions, endorsed by the mayor and secretary of public safety. Follow the directions of our mayor and the secretary of public safety. Be on the lookout for these types of eventualities that may arise. And let’s not play technician or specialist and try to repair our devices. Call an expert or 911, ventilate the area, and get our children, elderly, and ourselves out,” said Muñoz.


Comments are closed

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Photo Gallery

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove