When the winter hits, it’s always nice to spend those first few cold snaps keeping cozy at home. However, when it comes to older houses, taking the time to make sure everything is safe and up to code could make a huge difference this winter. When the weather starts to change and the climate gets drier and windier, the potential risk of fire and other weather damage becomes much greater. If you’re looking to reduce your heating bills and stay safe and warm this winter, take these facts into consideration.
All Smoke Detectors Should Be Up to Code
If you’re someone who likes to save on central heating by lighting a fire every so often, make sure you’ve got all your smoke detectors working first. Smoke detectors are often being upgraded for safety, and newer models come with even safer features for the home. Checking your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector at least a month will help keep you safe in the winter months. You should also make sure to check the batteries frequently and replace them at least once every year. Whether you use a smart thermostat, a fireplace, or a residential heating oil provider to heat your home, you don’t want to leave anything to chance when it comes to fire safety.
Cleaning Lint Traps Keeps Your Home Safe
One of the leading causes of home fires is an unemptied lint trap in a home dryer. The dryness of the lint, combined with the high charge of electricity in the dryer, can end up sparking serious flames if gone uncleaned for too long. Thousands of home fires are started every year because of clogged lint traps in homes and apartment buildings. It’s not just about cleaning the trap every now and then, either.
Though the trap is built to catch most of the lint from your clothes, a lot of it ends up getting caught in the tube behind the machine, causing a highly flammable buildup that could set a home in flames. To keep safe, always have a professional take a look at your dryer at least once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly and safely. In addition, you can prevent danger by paying attention to your dryer’s function. If it starts to end mid-cycle and doesn’t seem to dry your clothes fully, you could be dealing with a clogged trap and should call a professional at once.
Newer Portable Heaters are Built to Protect You
If you have an older space heater, chances are it’s built like a tiny heat box that stays in one place and quickly heats up small rooms for greater comfort. However unobtrusive and easy to use these older models are, it’s always good to upgrade whenever you can. Portable heaters, if left on too long or surrounded by flammable objects, can easily cause trouble when overheated. This is especially a concern if you’re turning on your space heater in the moments before falling asleep. To stay safe, invest in a newer portable heater. Pick one that will automatically turn off when it’s tipped over or when it begins to overheat.
Your Fireplace Needs to Be Inspected at Least Once a Year
Nothing is cozier than gathering around the fireplace as a family. However, chimneys require a special kind of maintenance that shouldn’t be overlooked. Even if you only use your fireplace a few times a year, making sure you have a professional come and inspect everything before you light your first fire of the year is a great way to keep safe. When a chimney has too much soot buildup, it can end up doing the opposite of its job, trapping and reversing the smoke from the fire and pushing into your home. When building a fire, it’s also helpful to invest in a grate that will catch any sparks that happen to escape from the hearth.
Kid-Free Zones Keep Your Kids in the Clear
If you have small children (or even bigger children,) you probably already have set clear perimeters for safety in the home. In the winter, however, it’s always a good idea to be extra clear on safety measures, especially when it comes to portable heaters and fireplaces. Trying to set up your heating devices far away from any high-traffic areas in the home will help establish a ‘kid-free’ zone without defeating the purpose. When winter-proofing your home, take a minute to explain to the kids that they should keep their distance from certain objects and should not touch the thermostat.