Posted on January 4, 2023 by Becca Quackenbush
As we round into 2023, we still have a lot of winter ahead of us here in Southwest Montana. We've made it through one of the toughest -30°F cold spells Montana has had for several years with record amounts of snowfall already this season. However, the almanac is predicting much more snowfall in the next several months requiring us to batten down the hatches and snuggle in tight. Always keep safety at the top of your mind as we continue to run our furnaces and fireplaces cranking out that warmth. Read these 8 home tips to keep you from fire risks this winter.
- Be Careful with Candles: Keep burning candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and never leave lit candles unattended. For safety’s sake, consider purchasing electric candles and saving the old-fashioned kind for emergencies.
- Clean and Inspect Chimneys Yearly: Prevent carbon monoxide leaks and winter home fires by having your chimney cleaned and inspected each year. You can either have your chimney cleaned each spring after a winter of cozy fires or in the fall when you have your seasonal HVAC tune-up. We recommend reaching out to a specialist in your area to professionally help you with your needs. Businesses such as Premier Systems for all HVAC or Big Sky Chimney for all wood-burning needs help service Southwest Montana and can help get the job done any time of year.
- Practice Fireplace Safety: Few things are as lovely as a warm crackling fire. But don’t let the flames escape your fireplace. Use a sturdy glass or metal screen to keep sparks from flying out into your home.
- Keep Flammables Away from Fire: Keep flammables at least three feet away from your fireplace, wood-burning stove, or other sources of heat. If you have a wood-burning stove, keep the doors closed unless you are adding wood or removing ashes.
- Be Smart with Space Heaters: If you use space heaters to supplement your central heating, or in place of central heating, be smart with them. Use the right fuel for fuel-burning heaters and make sure you have a proper carbon monoxide detector for any gas leaks. If you purchase electric space heaters, buy the ones with safety shut-offs that cause the heater to stop running if it’s tipped over. Radiant space heaters are the safest and cheapest to run. We recommend heading to your local hardware or ranching supply stores such as Kenyon Noble or Murdoch's to help find the heater right for your space.
- Use Generators Outdoors: Portable generators can get your household through power outages, but for safety’s sake, always use them outdoors as they produce exhaust. In addition to being a fire hazard, portable generators can produce carbon monoxide, so it is best to keep them in a properly ventilated area. Keep them away from windows and as far from your home’s exterior walls as you can. You should also keep them away from shrubs, trees, and other flammable foliage.
- Don’t Heat Your Home with Your Kitchen Stove: When your furnace breaks down unexpectedly, it can be tempting to turn on the oven and open up the door to get some heat into the house. Doing so, however, can create a fire hazard and release carbon monoxide into your home. Running the burners for heat can be even more dangerous. Use space heaters, blankets, hot water bottles, and warm clothing to keep warm during furnace breakdowns. Better yet, make sure to have your HVAC inspected each fall to prevent unexpected breakdowns.
- Remove Snow From Fire Hydrants: If you live within city limits, you are still no stranger to the pile-up of snow Montana offers during winter. Snowbanks are common along all roads and sidewalks and build up as the winter progresses. In case of a fire emergency, a simple civilian responsibility that can make your local fire department's job easier is to routinely shovel the snow buildup away from the nearest fire hydrant to allow for quicker access to the water source.
Source: American Home Shield and shared by ERA In Your Corner