Take the Time to Winter-Proof Your Home to Reduce Risks of Fires and Floods
If you are a homeowner living in an area that experiences cold weather, you should take the time each fall or early winter to complete a few tasks that will help to prevent a disaster from striking such as a fire or home flood.
The first order of business is to have your furnace inspected by a professional. It should be cleaned and any worn parts should be replaced. Be certain that you change the filter in the furnace as dirty, clogged filters are a major cause for concern. A dirty filter can make your furnace work extra hard which could cause it to overheat and catch on fire. If your furnace is outdated consider having it replaced with a new one.
If you plan on using space heaters to warm up rooms inside the house, be sure that the cords are not worn out. Do not ever put a damp towel or any other type of flammable item on top of a space heater to dry it. This is a big no-no as space heaters become extremely hot in just a few short minutes. Keep the space heaters at least three feet from curtains, bedding, rugs and anything else that is flammable. When the space heaters are not being used unplug them. Teach any children living at home the dangers of space heaters so that they learn to respect and steer clear of these small and very hot heating units.
In order to avoid having your pipes freeze and possibly burst which can cause a flood, have the pipes insulated. Learn how to turn off the water at the main valve and pour some antifreeze into drains and the toilet tank. This will help to prevent freezing. If need be, call in a plumbing service to professionally insulate your pipes. There are many homeowners in the US who have returned home after being away in the winter to find their homes filled with water because their pipes froze and burst. This is a mess you want to avoid at all costs so the money you invest in insulating your pipes will be very well spent.
If your home contains a fireplace be sure that you have the chimney cleaned before using it. Be certain to use totally dry wood in the fireplace and invest in a high quality fireplace screen. Have a proper set of fireplace tools on hand so that you can control the fires you build. Never, under any circumstances leave your house while there is a fire burning in the fireplace. An unattended fire can easily start to burn out of control and the consequences could very well be devastating.
Use some common sense this winter. Take the time necessary to get your home prepared for the cold weather. Having a clean furnace that runs optimally and a sound fireplace that has been cleaned prior to use will go a long way to ensure that your family and home remain safe until the warmer weather returns once again in the spring time.