With cooler weather here, it’s time to turn on the heat, stock up on firewood, and dust off the space heaters. To protect your family and your property, read our tips on how to heat your home safely this winter and you’ll stay warm all season long.
Heat Safely with Electric Space Heaters in the Home
Small, portable space heaters are an efficient way to take the chill out of a room. Instead of heating the whole house, use a small heater to control the temperature in the most used areas of your home.
Before the weather gets cold, pull out your space heaters and clear the dust and debris from the air intake. Check the electrical cord for any signs of damage and do not use the heater if the cord is frayed or cracked. Some space heaters have a small filter over the air intake. Clean or change the filter before using the device.
Place your space heater in an area where the cord is not a tripping hazard. Make sure the heater itself rests on a flat and stable surface. Keep the appliance away from furniture, draperies, and holiday décor. For safety, purchase space heaters that automatically shut off if tipped over. Unplug the heater when you leave the house or go to bed in the evening.
Heat Your Home Safely with a Fireplace
Whether you use your fireplace as a primary heat source or only use it in case of a power outage, fire provides a cozy way to warm your home.
Creosote is a flammable substance that builds on the chimney walls. To prevent chimney fires, have your chimney cleaned annually. Fall is the perfect time of year to call a chimney sweep to clear away leaves, pine needles, animal nests, and creosote that’s accumulated in your chimney. Have the chimney and fireplace inspected and hire a professional to make repairs if needed.
Stock up on seasoned hardwood to use as fuel. Softwoods, like pine, and freshly cut wood produce more smoke and soot, plus they burn more slowly, contributing to creosote buildup in the chimney.
Use a fireplace screen to help protect furniture and carpets from sparks and stray embers. A screen will also keep curious children and pets away from the fire.
Portable Kerosene Heaters
Portable kerosene heaters are most often used in emergency situations such as power outages. It’s not recommended that you use a portable kerosene heater as the main heat source for your home.
As with any heat-producing device, keep it at least three feet away from any flammable materials, including curtains, bedding, and furniture. Never leave the heater unattended and make sure to extinguish it before going to bed. Always allow your kerosene heater to cool completely before you refuel it. Refill the heater outdoors and away from any heat source.
When shopping for a kerosene heater, choose a heater with a battery-operated ignition. This means you won’t need matches to start the heater. Your portable kerosene heater should also have a safety shut-off that will extinguish the flame if the device is tipped over.
Test Your Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors save lives, so it’s critical to make sure they’re working properly. Each month test the smoke detectors in your home. The battery should be replaced at least twice every year. A good way to remember this task is to purchase new batteries when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends. It’s recommended to replace the smoke detecting device after 10 years of service.
Install new detectors throughout your house, making sure there is one device in each bedroom and a smoke detector in the hallway outside sleeping areas. For safety, have smoke detectors installed in the basement, laundry room, garage, and the kitchen. To help reduce the chance of false alarms, install your kitchen’s device 10 to 12 feet away from cooking appliances.