Georgia may have milder winters than northern states, but cold weather safety is still a major consideration once the sultry temperatures give way to winter chill. These essential cold weather safety tips will help keep your family and your home safe this winter.
Service the Chimney
Before you light a fire in the fireplace this winter, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep. Cracks, blockages, creosote buildup, and improperly functioning components can cause devastating fires and deadly carbon monoxide leaks.
Keep flammable objects away from the fireplace hearth, and always use a fireplace screen when enjoying a fire. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the house or retiring to bed.
Test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
The batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every year. Replace the batteries, and press the test button to ensure your detectors are in working order.
If you don’t have smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, installing them in your home should be a top priority this fall to ensure the safety of your home and family. Place one of each type of detector on every floor in your home. One of each should be installed close to your main sleeping area.
Have an escape plan in place so that in the event a fire does occur, everyone in the family knows exactly what to do.
Use Caution with Portable Heaters
Kerosene heaters and other portable heating devices pose a major fire risk. Only the approved fuel in portable heaters. Check the cord for fraying and other damage, and replace the entire unit if the cord is in poor shape. Never use an extension cord or power strip with your heater, but rather plug it directly into the wall outlet. Make sure there is ample space between the heater and other objects, like furniture and drapes.
Before putting up your holiday lights, check them carefully for damage and frayed cords. Don’t overload extension cords or power strips with string lights, and unplug your lights before going to bed.
If you opt for a real Christmas tree, make sure you water it frequently to prevent it from drying out, which can be a major fire hazard.
Use caution when burning candles. Keep candles on a nonflammable surface, and keep other objects at a safe distance from the flame.
Have Your Heating System Tuned Up
Annual preventive maintenance on your gas furnace is essential for wintertime safety. A tune-up includes testing for carbon monoxide leaks, measuring the flue gases, inspecting the vent stack or chimney for damage and obstructions, and cleaning and inspecting the fuel lines, burner assembly, and other essential components. In addition to ensuring safety, the annual tune-up goes a long way toward improving the energy efficiency of your system to help reduce heating costs.
Put Together an Emergency Kit
Severe winter weather can result in power outages, and having an emergency kit on hand will help you respond quickly and efficiently. Include a portable radio, flashlights, food items that don’t require heating, and a couple of gallons of purified water. If winter storms are forecast, make sure your cell phones and other devices are fully charged, and use them sparingly to ensure the battery lasts through the emergency.
For more expert tips for keeping your home and family safe and warm this winter, please feel free to contact us at Comfort Control, Inc.