The following tips can help you improve home safety all year, but especially during the winter when windows are closed and heating systems are in play, including fireplaces and space heaters. The three main hazards indoors are electrical, fire and chemical.
- Never overload an electrical outlet.
- Don’t use extension cords with space heaters unless the wattage for the cord matches that required by the space heater.
- Make sure that none of your cords run under rugs or have loose plugs.
- Unplug and repair or discard any appliance that emits a burnt or smoky smell.
- Have your heating and cooling equipment inspected annually. Part of the maintenance that HVAC technicians perform involves inspecting the wiring and electrical connections.
- Make sure your smoke detector batteries are working by testing them periodically and check carbon monoxide (CO) detectors monthly. CO detectors use more energy than smoke detectors, and if you use a fireplace or any combustible fuels in the winter, you’ll want both to be in good working order.
- Verify that your space heaters are UL listed and have switches that turn them off if they tip over.
- Use candles carefully, especially during a power outage. Never let them burn unattended, and keep them away from anything combustible and out of the reach of children or pets.
- Have annual maintenance done on your fuel-burning furnace to improve home safety and minimize the risk of fire.
- Hire a chimney sweep to clean the fireplace and chimney to avoid chimney fires. Creosote builds up inside the chimney and can start a fire.
- Keep all flammable chemicals in tightly closed containers. Store them in a separate building if you have one.
- Don’t use flammable aerosols indoors in the winter unless you turn off the furnace.
- Put all oily rags in a pail of water and let them soak before drying and throwing them away. Some wood finishes create heat as they dry and the rags can spontaneously combust.
If you’d like more information on how to improve home safety, contact Comfort Systems. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC services to the Wichita area since 1953.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Home Safety and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.