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Basement fire prevention

According to Fire Prevention Canada, the winter season is the worst season for home fires. As temperatures dip and we crank up the heat, consider these safety tips:

Ventilate and make space

• Furnaces and hot water heaters are powered by electricity or fuels like oil, propane or natural gas, so it’s important that there’s enough space for proper ventilation – as well as maintenance or emergency repair work.

• Keep the furnace room floors and the area around furnace equipment free of debris.

• Clear away any boxes or suitcases from around air intakes or vents.

• Don’t lean anything against the furnace or water heater.

• Don’t leave used filters or old furnace parts lying around.

Store elsewhere

• Don’t place kitty litter near your furnace – ammonia fumes from the litter can corrode the furnace heat exchanger and odours can circulate throughout your home.

• Don’t keep cleaning or laundry products in your furnace room – wherever they’re stored, make sure they’re in airtight containers.

Take precaution

• Never leave any combustibles in the furnace room. Don’t store anything near your furnace that’s combustible at low flash points – like gasoline, paint and paint thinners.

• Always keep the area free of dust and debris – vacuum and clean around your furnace and water heater tank to prevent dust buildup.

• If your furnace room or area doubles as a laundry space, don’t hang laundry or a clothesline from your equipment – it’s a major fire hazard and reduces airflow.

• Schedule regular maintenance to make sure everything is in perfect working order.


Carbon monoxide is responsible for more than 300 deaths each year and is the number one cause of accidental poisonings in Canada. CO poisoning is notoriously difficult to diagnose, often until it’s too late. The symptoms mimic those of many other illnesses including nausea, headaches, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and vomiting.

Most Carbon Monoxide detectors are good for 5-7 years and should be replaced after that time frame. Typically, the units have a tag or date stamp on the back

to indicate its age or expiration date.

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