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Be Sure To Check Heating Devices, Have Working Smoke Detectors
By Brian Nowlin, Staff Writer
Warm temperatures are still in the area but as October begins, mornings will also begin to feel chilly and that means that people will be using wood stoves, gas stoves, heat pumps and other sources of heat soon.
During the spring and summer there were relatively few fires occurring in the area, but as people begin to use heat once again, that is always a big concern.
It is important to be sure to check chimneys, heating equipment and smoke alarms as winter weather approaches and more citizens begin to heat their homes. Each year it is good idea to freshen up on some fall safety tips that can help prevent dangerous situations such as fire and carbon monoxide poising.
One good habit to practice is to remember that as the leaves begin to change, it is time to change out the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This will help ensure that if a fire does begin in your home or there is a situation where carbon monoxide may be entering your home, you give yourself and your family the best opportunity to escape with no harm.
No matter what type of device you use to heat your home, making sure your heating devices and/or systems are in good working order is extremely important each year. The heating appliances or units have been sitting dormant for many months and preparing them to properly heat by cleaning and inspecting everything is essential. If you are able to check the equipment properly then do so yourself and if not hire a professional to come check your chimney or stove.
Individuals with central heating systems may not think that they have to go through the same inspection process as someone with a stove, but it is equally important to check out the system and have it cleaned by a certified contractor before using it.
In addition to checking out the stoves, chimneys, central heating or any other source of heat, it is also important to check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors in homes. We discussed above changing out the batteries, but it is also important to make sure that these devices are in the proper places.
The following recommendations are given with regard to these safety devices.
*Consider purchasing combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.
*Install them in sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
*Install them away from air vents.
*Interconnected smoke alarms are best because if one sounds, they all sound.
*Test smoke alarms monthly.
*Prepare and practice a fire escape route with everyone in your home, including children.
In addition to preparing your home for the winter season, there are additional maintenance items around the house that can help get you and your family ready for the winter and reduce some of the cost you will likely incur this winter.
Change the filters in your home heating system. Many times people forget them and dust and dirt accumulation can cause heating systems to work much harder and less efficient.
Plug drafty doors by putting something under them. The cold air you feel as you walk by a door can lead to huge savings if you seal it with a towel or product made for such problems.
Winterizing window air conditioning units and using plastic on drafty windows can be a big help in the winter. Just as the doors leaking air can be a money drainer, so can windows where drafts are felt.
Run your fans in reverse. Most ceiling fans have two different directions in which they will run. One will cool you in the hot weather, while the other is used to help bring warm air from the ceiling back down to the floor.
Finally, insulate your water pipes and turn down the heat on the hot water heater. Both will make it more efficient and better able to run during the cold winter months, while saving you money.
Most of all, be safe in the winter and take all of the necessary precautions to make sure that no fires or other winter heating hazards occur.