Extra Warmth Can Pose Risks
One major benefit of living in a newer home is energy efficiency. Your family is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, with no outrageous utility bills.
When it comes to home heating during frigid winter months, though, there are potential safety issues to keep in mind if you regularly use a wood burning fireplace, gas fireplace or a space heater in a corner of the attic, basement or garage that might not feel warm enough. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
There’s nothing cozier than a wood-burning fireplace on a snowy night. If you use yours regularly, make sure to remove the ash on a weekly basis. If you don’t want the mess of an ash bucket in your living space, use a vacuum specifically designed for ash, not your regular vacuum. Once a year, have a professional clean and inspect your chimney to keep fumes from leaking into the house and to prevent a chimney fire.
Your gas fireplace — along with your gas furnace and water heater — also relies on the chimney for exhaust venting. An annual inspection of your chimney before cold weather arrives will ensure that odorless, colorless gases you might not be aware of are venting properly and not seeping back into the house.
Portable space heaters are an effective way to lend temporary heat to an area in the house or garage, or to that person in your house who feels the cold more than everyone else. According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are involved in more than 70 percent of home heating fire deaths. The reason? Placing space heaters too close to bedding, upholstered furniture or other flammable items, or leaving space heaters on while unattended. If you use a space heater, keep at least a few feet of space between the heater and anything flammable, and make sure to turn them off when you go to sleep.