How to safely warm your house this winter

With the cold season upon us, many people create alternative ways to keep their houses warm. Fireplaces, electric heaters, and other warming devices are great ways to warm your home without the cost, but can be fire hazards. Make sure you know how to warm your house safely with these tips.

Fireplace maintenance is a must.

Having a fireplace is a great way to maintain heat in your house, but can be dangerous if not taken care of properly. You should have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Also, actively look for signs of soot or creosote buildup throughout the year. This should be disposed of regularly because it is highly flammable.

Build the safest fire possible

Before starting, open the flue. This allows the smoke to safely exit the house. Use safe fire starters such as dry kindling, newspaper, or organic fire starters. Never use liquid such as gasoline, kerosene, or charcoal starter.

Choose dense wood, such as oak, or ash, that’s been stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Freshly cut wood has more moisture, which creates smoke and deposit build up. Logs should be placed at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. ┬áKeep flammable items far away, and use a screen to prevent sparks or ambers form flying out.

Be smart when using electronic heaters.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters are associated with more than 25,000 residential fires every year. When getting out your heater, or buying a new one, make sure it’s in good condition. It should have an emergency shut off in case it tips over, and should be approved by the Underwriter’s Laboratory, which means it’s been tested for the latest safety standards.

Place your heater on a hard nonflammable surface. Avoid ever putting your space heater on rugs or near flammable material such as bedding. Keep away from foot traffic, especially children or pets. Always remember to shut off your heater when you leave, or before you go to sleep.

We hope you have a safe and warm winter season!

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