Winter is upon us, and its recent frigid temperatures have us reaching for the thermostat and trying to remember Grandma’s chicken soup recipe. However, before you crank up the heat, keep in mind a few home safety tips that will help keep disaster at bay.
A Well-Maintained Fireplace is a Safe Fireplace
It is imperative that you keep up on fireplace maintenance year-round, but especially during those winter months when they are getting the most use.
Never leave your fireplace on unattended, even for a few minutes. Have your chimney looked at every year to ensure it is working properly, and remove ashes from your fireplace after each fire (the ash level should be no more than one inch high from the base of the fireplace to prevent excess smoke).
Finally, replace the batteries in both your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm at least once per year and test them once per month.
Take Caution with Crock-Pots
While experts ensure us that crock-pots are technically safe to leave unattended, it is important to note that caution still must be taken when cooking with these high-temp appliances. First of all, make sure your crock-pot is in good working condition. This means no cracks in the lid or pot, and no obvious damage to the cord.
When using your crock-pot, follow the exact instructions and remove all food and debris from the immediate area. If your crock-pot ever malfunctions in any way, consider it a loss and throw it away.
Show Your Heater some T.L.C.
With near or below-freezing temperatures, it is quite tempting to crank up the heat to a comfortable level all winter long. However, heating your home to this extent is hard work for your furnace, especially if you are home often.
To prevent your system from breaking — and leaving your home freezing or forcing you to spend a night or two elsewhere — have it inspected by a professional every six months to a year for Oregon’s typical winters. Take full advantage of your heating system’s warranty, which may include free checkups.
Typical maintenance checks should include wiring inspections, thermostat checks, lubrication, and checking for obstructions in the condensate drain. Maintenance inspections can also catch carbon monoxide leaks — a detection that can ultimately save you and/or your family’s life.