Friday, October 31, 2014

Fire Safety For Your Home During the Winter

It's still fall, but with winter arriving soon, now is the time to get your house and family safely protected against the cold winter temperatures. With more time spent indoors and the heater on there's a greater chance of a fire.  Below are some ideas for preventing fires and saving money, too.

Furnace Maintenance

Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a professional at least once a year. When the weather is the coldest -- and the furnace is being run the hardest -- is when it inevitably will decide to quit working! Then trying to get a repairman out for service is difficult, since the demand, and the cost, is the high. When you have a long wait in bone-chilling temperatures, you'll wish you had done this earlier.

Chimneys and Fireplaces

Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected. Built up creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires! Occasionally critters will make nests in a flue and end up blocking the flow of air up the chimney. In addition, make sure the damper is tight and working properly, so the expensive heated air isn't going up the chimney (along with your money!).

Check the condition of your fireplace screen. If it is in poor condition, sparks from a fire can jump onto furniture or carpeting and start a fire. Get a covered metal container ready to dispose of ashes, and keep it at least 10 feet from your home. Ashes can smolder for hours and ignite flammable materials near it. Never dump ashes into a paper bag or onto a newspaper for disposal.

Now is the time to stock up on dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood stove. Once the wind starts howling and the temperatures drop, it's more difficult to find and more expensive.

Fire safety is important. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher and know how to use it. Go over fireplace rules and restrictions with your kids. It may look like fun, but they need to have a healthy respect for fire. You should never leave a young child alone near a fire for any reason!

Portable Heaters

If you use a portable heater for warmth, make sure the electrical cord is fully insulated and it has an automatic shut-off. Keep heaters at least three feet away form anything that can burn (like bedding). Never try to heat your home with a gas barbeque grill. The fumes it gives off are odorless and can sicken or even kill people! Even wood stoves need to be properly ventilated to the outside, or they can produce lethal gasses.

Finally, test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they're in good working condition. They are your first line of defense in the event of a problem, and can save you and your family's lives!

Follow these tips and your home will be safe this winter. If you're concerned about protecting your belongings, give us a call at 888-867-2866 to review you home insurance policy today!