With the fall season comes the cooler weather and we tend to spend more time indoors this time of year. Below you will find a few tips to help you protect you and your family this fall.
Inspecting Your Home Heating System
We rely on our heating systems to keep us warm throughout the colder months, therefore it is a must that your home heating system is inspected annually.
- Look for signs of deterioration, such as corrosion, leaks or water stains.
- Replace the air filter frequently in a forced-air system.
- Be sure the heating system’s air supply is not obstructed in any way.
- Clean and inspect heating vents to ensure air flows freely.
Avoid Damaged or Unsafe Cords
We tend to plug in more items in the fall and winter months and frayed or damaged extension cords may result in potential shock and fires.
- Always inspect cords on a regular basis and replace them if they are worn out or damaged.
- Make sure you have the appropriate cord for what you are plugging into; some cords can only be used indoors and others for only outdoor use. Extension cords are rated in amps and must be used within the ampere rating.
- Don’t overload the circuit. Circuit breakers that trip and fuses that blow frequently can mean your circuit is overloaded.
Fireplace and Wood Stove
It’s comforting to curl up beside a warm fireplace. A few necessary steps can prevent potential hazards and ensure they are operating properly.
- Check the chimney from the outside. Look for any chipped bricks, holes or cracks.
- Check inside the house around the chimney for any signs of leaks or dampness. Faulty flashing or a damaged flue liner could be to blame so a professional needs to be contacted.
- The damper should open and close easily.
- Inspect the joints and connection on a stove pipe to ensure a tight fit. If rust is spotted, this is a sign to replace the stove pipe.
- Check the walls around the fireplace for excessive heat as this could mean improper chimney installation.
- You should always use a fitted screen to protect your floors and walls from sparks.
Gas fireplaces look nice and are great additions to any home but they to can be dangerous and require regular maintenance.
- Be sure to check the ventilation system for anything that may be clogging the air flow.
- Check the artificial logs before lighting a fire. Make sure they are not covered by any debris or dirt.
- The glass doors need to be cleaned both inside and out to prevent build up. Inspect to see that there are no visible cracks.
- When cleaning your gas fireplace ensure you use the cleaners recommended by the manufacturer.
- If you turn off the pilot light during the summer be sure to read the instruction manual before turning it back on.
- Remember that the glass barrier can heat up in only minutes and cause serious burns. Be aware of children around your gas fireplace. Barriers and safety guards can be used to keep children at a safe distance.
When the cooler weather comes and we look to heat up our homes it is important to change the batteries in our carbon monoxide alarms. Remember to test your CO and smoke alarms monthly by pushing the unit’s test button. Install a CO alarm on every level on your home and near sleeping areas, and never install them near windows, vents, bathrooms and heating or fuel-buring appliances. Here are a few ways to prevents CO from becoming a potential danger in your home.
- Choose appliances that vent fumes outside, whenever possible.
- Never idle the car in the garage.
- Never use a gas oven to heat your home.
- Avoid sleeping in rooms with an unvented gas or kerosene heater.
Let Your House Breathe
Our attempt to conserve energy and reduce heating costs may be preventing our homes’s ability to breathe and can cause air quality problems. An increase in ventilation will diminish the toxic substances, and expel moisture and other gases making your home healthier and more comfortable.