This winter, which officially started on Sunday, homeowners should be aware of important warning signs and potential heating system hazards to protect their homes from any accidents. According to the National Fire Protection Association, faulty and improperly used heating equipment accounted for nearly 400 deaths nationwide, more than 53,000 fires and $893 million in direct property damage in 2011. Fortunately, I have some tips to help make your home as comfy and safe this season.
The following tips are from David Leon, who is a licensed contractor and TV home-improvement expert from Home Made Simple on the Oprah Winfrey Network. In addition, American Home Shield [Twitter] has some useful videos and information on their blog to help homeowners balance their busy lives with tips and news on everything home.
Twelve Winter Tips for Your Home
- Have your heating system serviced every year and check the filters system every month.
- Inspect your system’s exhaust vent for rust, damage, or any corrosion.
- Check to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed so heat doesn’t escape.
- Inspect caulking and weather stripping around openings for wear and tear, and replace if necessary.
- Busted water pipes can cause expensive damage. Take time now to wrap outside pipes that might be exposed to extreme temperatures.
- Review the locations for the main water and fuel shut-off valves with all members of your household.
- Have a plan. When you own a home, you know that things are going to break down — but when it happens, do you know who you’ll call or what you’ll do? A home warranty is a great way to protect your budget against costly repairs, and save yourself the time and hassle of finding a qualified professional to get major systems and appliances up and running again.
- Always be aware of gas odors. If you smell gas around your heating unit, leave the area and call your gas company immediately.
- Be sure your pilot light is burning a steady blue flame. If it is not, call your heating professional or a gas company.
- Take a close look at your exhaust fan for any rust, damage or deterioration. If you notice any, call a qualified professional and describe what you see to determine whether a repair is needed.
- Take extra care with space heaters. They should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord, and turned off at night. When in use, always be sure space heaters are a safe distance from curtains and other flammable items.
- Use extra care when operating space heaters. They should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord, and turned off at night. When in use, always be sure space heaters are a safe distance from curtains and other flammable items.
[Disclosure: I will receive something for writing this post. As always, the opinions expressed are mine and I am not obligated to write a positive review.]