Heat Your Home Safely This Winter
It’s that time of year again and the temperature keeps dropping. Most of us can keep toasty warm, but there are some areas of the house that seem to be cold, especially in older homes. Older homes have shifted with weather changes and slab floors have cracked, which leads to drafts and uneven temperatures. Many times, we’re tempted to use space heaters and fireplaces to help our HVAC systems keep the house warm. If you do use them, you need to know how to use them safely. The Red Cross has some safety tips for you.
Follow Home Heating Safety Tips to Prevent House Fires
Heating fires are the second leading cause of home fires.
Home fires are the single most common disaster that the American Red Cross responds to across the country and heating fires are the second leading cause of these home fires.
With nearly half of American families using alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood/coal stoves to stay warm and an ice storm wreaking havoc throughout the Southeast, it is important to review home heating safety tips.
First, make sure you have a working smoke alarm which reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.
Smoke Alarm Safety
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
- Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button.
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
In case the power goes out during the ice storm and you need alternative sources of heat, or plan to use candles, follow the below safety tips.
Home Heating Tips
- Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
- Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
- If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.
Candle Safety Tips
- Remember that lit candles are fire. Keep them at least 12 inches from anything that can burn, such as curtains, bedding, mattresses, paper, books, flammable decorations, clothing, and upholstered furniture.
- Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily, are made from a material that cannot burn, and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
- Place candles where they cannot be reached or knocked over by pets and children.
- During an emergency, always use flashlights and not candles as light sources.
- Never leave a child unattended in a room with a candle. And keep all matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight of children.
- Keep all lit candles and other open flames away from any flammable liquids.
Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to prevent fires.
If you home is suffering from chronic HVAC issues, Berkeys can help determine the best solution with our home energy audit and HVAC inspections. Berkeys inspects your home air conditioning and heating systems and air ducts. Then we pressure test the whole house to locate costly leaks and find hot or cold spots in walls, floors, and ceilings. The data is then compiled in a computer-generated analysis that shows precisely where energy savings are available and indicates what repairs should be made,
When you need a dependable, knowledgeable plumber, electrician or HVAC technician in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, call a name you trust. Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical 24/7, Call us 877-746-6855 or visit berkeys.com for questions and scheduling information or on Facebook at Facebook.com/Berkeys.
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