Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Keep Your Home Safe and Warm This Winter

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Winter weather provides several potential hazards for homeowners. During the winter months, it is important to keep your home properly heated. To minimize the risk of heating hazards, Blais Insurance would like to provide the following safety tips. Whether you use a fireplace, a portable space heater, or a whole heating system, it is important to be safe when heating your home.

Here are some precautions to take if you use a fireplace to heat your home:
  • Have your chimney inspected and properly cleaned. Excess buildup can damage your chimney if a fire is lit without being properly cleaned. 
  • Have a chimney cap installed to prevent precipitation from falling down your chimney. This will also reduce downdrafts. 
  • Only burn dry, cured wood. Remember to slowly build your fire from the ground up. 
  • Never put flammable liquids or trash/debris into your fireplace. These materials can cause intense flames and potentially toxic smoke. 
  • Use a fireplace screen when the fire is not being tended to. This will prevent embers and ashes from entering the room. 
If you use a space or portable heating system, remember to keep the following in mind:
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place your heating system at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. 
  • Do not use heaters as a means to dry clothing because it could catch fire. 
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly. 
In case of fire damage to your home, it is important to have coverage. Our homeowners’ policies protect you in all the basic areas but allow for room to add on specific coverages, tailoring the policy to your needs. Visit us at www.blaisinsurance.com for more information.

*Information for this article provided by the National Fire Protection Association