When ‘Old Man Winter’ rolls in, he brings frigid temperatures and the need to dust the cobwebs out of the heating system. The risk of house fires dramatically increases during this time of year. The cause is the use of the furnace, space heaters, and the fireplace. What can you do to protect your home or rental and make sure that your system is in top shape?
If you’re like most people, then you give little thought to your furnace system, other than the fact that it handles all of your home’s heating and cooling. You simply go to the thermostat, set your desired temperature, and you get instant warmth. However, there are many home dangers that you cannot see that are lurking inside your unit. Shockingly, your venting system that disburses the heat can also spread toxins throughout the entire home. One of the most serious dangers is carbon monoxide from a gas furnace. Carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless, and undetectable without a monitoring alarm. It all begins when rust forms on the heat exchanger inside your furnace. This part turns the gas into warm air and sends it through a series of tubes out to the venting system. Rust causes tiny, pin dot holes to form on this part, and the toxic gas escapes through these small areas. It’s essential to have an alarm in the house to protect your family from this harmful gas.
There’s nothing more spectacular than the roar of a fire. Having a fireplace is a blessing during those cold winter nights. However, a fireplace requires regular maintenance to operate safely. Gas or propane varieties are typically not as big of a maintenance issue. Consequently, if you’re burning wood in an old-fashioned setup, then you need a chimney sweep. Dangerous creosote builds up each time you build a fire. It is a carbonaceous chemical that is formed as wood and other plant-based materials burn. It fills in the side of the chimney and can ignite, causing a fire. While creosote is one fear, having a proper screen on the front to avoid any logs from rolling or young ones from getting to close is another concern. Burns in the home are among the leading causes of child injury. But being safe doesn’t mean you can’t have the ambiance and warmth of a fire. Electric fireplaces have seen a surge in popularity, and tend to be much safer and require much less maintenance than a traditional fireplace.
The Dangers of Space Heaters
One of the biggest home dangers during the cold weather is fires caused by space heaters. Many people use these to supplement heat in areas of their home. Did you know that there are more than 25,000 fires caused each year from the use of these heaters? Shockingly, more than 300 people will lose their life from a fire caused by these small heating devices. Space heaters should always be kept away from curtains and placed in the center of the room. Additionally, it’s best to avoid using them altogether, if possible.
Clearly, there are home dangers all around you during the winter. It’s best to have your furnace and chimney inspect to ensure your season will be warm and bright.