Safe&Sound: Extra Heating in Your Virginia HomeWed Jan 04, 2017
Extra heat from fireplaces, wood stoves, and electric heaters is such a help when the outdoor temperature drops. And it becomes positively essential when there’s a winter power outage. And it’s no coincidence that almost half of all home fires occur in December, January, and February. Even a small chimney fire can have a costly impact; loss of valuable property, displacement and possible injury, not to mention the expense of repairs and clean ups. Here's how to keep you and yours safe this winter!
- Place carbon monoxide and smoke detectors on every level on your home.
- Replace batteries annually and check the expiration date. Smoke detectors, even the hardwired ones, expire after 10 years. They may still work but are less sensitive!
- Never use appliances like ovens to heat your home.
- Use fluid-fueled heaters, like kerosene heaters, outdoors only.
- Keep at least 3 feet of space between heaters and furniture, curtains, and anything that can burn.
- Always keep a close eye on heaters and don't be tempted to use them when you sleep.
- Do NOT use extension cords with any heating device.
- Only buy UL approved space heaters that have safety features like automatic shutoff if tipping over occurs.
- Check and see if an electric heater you own has been recalled.
- Make sure cords are not frayed or cracked.
- Don’t use the same circuit or outlet for an electric heater as another heater or other high-wattage electronics or appliances like TVs, computers, printers, lamps, and microwaves. (Did you know potpourri pots are high wattage?!)
- Don’t run power cords under rugs or through high traffic areas.
- Never put wet clothes or any fabric on or close to an electric heater to dry.
- Unplug your heater when you leave home.
Fireplaces and Wood Stoves:
- Have an annual inspection and cleaning to remove creosote build-up.
- Do regular maintenance with regular use.
- Use a dedicated screen to prevent sparks from flying out of your fireplace.
- Ashes should be disposed of in a metal container, never paper or plastic.
- Do not use substitute fuels or burning medium like newspaper or charcoal.
- Accelerants like lighter fluid to start or fuel fires are real NO-NOs!
- Always completely put out fires before you leave home.
Not complicated! And it's really good to feel warm, cozy and safe & sound!