25 Tips for a Warmer, Safer Home this Winter
There’s nothing like a roaring fire to make a home feel cozy. Here in Canada, the fireplace and furnace play an important role in our homes, and as winter approaches they are being put to active use. Make sure you put safety at the forefront as you prepare to keep your home warm this winter.
Here are 25 safety tips to help keep your home and your family safe:
- Educate children on fire hazards. They should be not be allowed to go near the fireplace or heating system, and should never be allowed to assist with starting a fire until they are mature enough to handle both the privilege and the responsibility. Under no circumstances should children ever be left unsupervised near an open fire.
- Pets should also be watched and kept away from the fireplace.
- All heaters, regardless of type and with the exception of electric ones, should have vents.
- Do not use the fireplace for more than 5 hours. After this, use the furnace.
- Your home should be properly ventilated as well. Open windows, doors and vents when the heating system is on.
- While ventilation outlets are open, glass or metal doors in front of the fireplace should be closed to avoid sparks, ashes or embers from hitting flammable household items.
- Never leave a fire burning in the fireplace when you are out of the house or in bed.
- If you are using wood in your fireplace, use only seasoned wood to reduce creosote emissions. Creosote is a substance generated from the tar in burning wood, and it can cause neurological damage when inhaled in strong concentration.
- Use only paper to start a fire; never kerosene or other fuels of any kind.
- Electric heaters should be plugged directly into a power outlet; do not use an extension cord.
- Never use the kitchen oven to heat your home. You run the risk of starting a house fire or getting poisoned by toxic fumes.
- Don’t place anything flammable within three feet of your heating system.
- Stack wood at least 30 meters away from your house.
- Non-flammable rugs are a great way to protect your carpets from sparks. Ask at your local fireplace supplies stores.
- Always use tools when starting a fire, never your bare hands; to eliminate the possibility of being burned.
- Keeping the fire small in your fireplace will help to limit smoke and will ensure that it is dies down faster.
- Always refuel outdoor heaters with the type of fuel specified by the manufacturer.
- Be careful never to overfill heaters with fuel.
- Don’t use barbecue charcoals inside your home. These emit toxic carbon monoxide fumes and are only safe for outdoor use.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Install smoke alarms at strategic areas in your homes. Test all alarms monthly using the built-in test button, or by holding a lighted match about a foot under the alarm until it activates. For battery operated models, the batteries usually need changing once a year.
- Make sure that glass fireplace doors have cooled down before cleaning them.
- Don’t use a vacuum cleaner to gather ashes immediately after use. Embers can stay hot enough to start a fire for as long as three days.
- Chimneys should be regularly cleaned, inside and out. Remove leaves, branches and anything flammable from the roof near the chimney, and talk to a chimney cleaning professional about getting your chimney clean and safe for the winter ahead.
- Consult a furnace cleaning professional to ensure that your furnace and heating system are ready for the cold weather to come.
Fireplace and furnace safety is mostly a matter of common sense. Take a few moments as winter approaches to make sure your entire family is clear on these simple safety precautions.
Of course, proper maintenance is one of the most important factors in keeping your home warm and safe this winter. For reliable fireplace cleaning and heating system maintenance, call Ram Cleaning Services at (403) 291-1051.