Sure, winter in Minnesota is the perfect time for mood lighting, roaring fires, and binge-watching your favorite true crime drama. But did you know that more house fires occur in the colder months than any other time of the year? It’s elementary, dear reader – we tend to spend more time indoors. Fireplaces and space heaters, as well as candles, holiday decorations, and winter storms, can dramatically increase the risk of fires in the winter. Don’t be a victim. Read our blog for winter fire safety tips to protect your home and your family from fire hazards.
Check your HVAC system
It’s no mystery; annual maintenance is critical when it comes to safely heating your home. Have your heating system checked by an HVAC professional at least once a year to ensure your system is operating safely and efficiently. But there are things you can do at home to ensure things run smoothly: Clean your vents and air registers, check your thermostat and adjust the temperature if necessary, and replace your furnace air filters on a regular basis. This can greatly reduce the risk of fire and save money on expensive repairs in the long run.
Inspect your fireplace
If your fireplace burns wood, be sure to have it inspected and cleaned by a professional before the beginning of the season. Cracks, poor ventilation, and the build up of creosote – a highly flammable, tar-like by-product of wood combustion – can lead to devastating house fires. Having it professionally cleaned is a good way to prevent this. Also, cover your fireplace with a metal screen or tempered glass to prevent embers from igniting the surrounding area. Problem solved.
Test your smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide detectors while you’re at it)
Riddle us this – what can you do to dramatically reduce the potential of fire-related injuries in your home? Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, of course. It’s estimated that three out of five fire-related injuries occur in homes without working fire alarms, mostly due to dead, missing, or disconnected batteries. Make it a part of your annual routine to change the batteries on your units to ensure they function properly, keeping you and your family safe this winter.
Beware of space heaters
A portable heater can be a convenient and affordable heating source if you’re looking to cut down on your utility bills. It can also be a fire hazard. Choose one that’s equipped with an automatic shut-off feature to avoid dangerously high temperatures. Avoid placing heaters near loose fabric like curtains or tablecloths. Use caution when using these devices around children and pets – ensure a safe distance of three feet or more to avoid burns. Lastly, make sure you turn off your portable heater when you leave the room or before you go to bed.
Stay informed about severe weather
It just wouldn’t be winter in Minnesota without a blizzard to knock out power and wreak havoc on your home. Power outages caused by downed trees or power lines are dangerous and can even be life-threatening. When the electricity is out, be careful when using alternate sources of energy such as candles or a portable generator. Place candles in a safe area away from children and pets. Portable generators should be used outdoors at all times as they can emit dangerous fumes.
So go ahead, hunker down this winter. Just don’t get caught unprepared. Contact Heating and Cooling Two today for furnace repair or to schedule a furnace tune-up.