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Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Heating equipment caused 15% of home structure fires in 2011-2015, ranking as the second leading cause behind fires caused by cooking equipment.

The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (53%) was heating equipment too close to flammable items, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.

Home heating equipment fires also accounted for nearly one-fifth (19%) of civilian deaths (third behind fires caused by smoking materials and cooking), 12% of civilian injuries (second behind cooking equipment), and 16% of direct property damage (third behind electrical distribution and lighting equipment and cooking equipment).

Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, (43%). Significantly, the fires involving space heaters accounted for 85% of the civilian deaths and 78% of civilian injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment, as well as over half (53%) of direct property damage.

The peak months for home heating fires are the cold weather months of December, January, and February (48%) with fires in March and November responsible for a disproportionate high share of heating equipment fires.

The leading factor that contributed to the failure of home heating equipment fires was:

  • Failure to clean

  • Mechanical failure or malfunction

  • Heat source too close to combustibles

  • Electrical failure or malfunction

  • Equipment unattended


Chimney & Furnace Fires

The compiled information below is according and to:


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on how to protect your family and home:

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  • From 2013-2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss.

  • Heating was the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.

  • Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 29 percent of all home heating fires.

  • Home heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point from June to August.

  • Confined fires — fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners — accounted for 75 percent of home heating fires.

  • Twenty-nine percent of the nonconfined home heating fires — fires that spread past the object of origin — happened because the heat source (like a space heater or fire place) was too close to things that can burn.

Safety Tips:

  • Have all furnaces, chimneys and heating equipment cleaned and inspected annually before cool weather arrives.

  • Have water heaters inspected annually.

  • Move all combustible objects or material away from heating equipment, fireplaces.

  • Clean clothes dryers vent systems regularly.

  • Clean dryer filters vents after every use.

  • Use caution when placing portable heating equipment near things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.

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