Beware: Risks to your House this Winter

It’s not just the high electric bill that we need to face during this winter; it is also the prime season for house fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of all conflagrations occur in the months of December, January, and February. Expect at least five fires an average household could have in its lifetime, big or small. The good news is, most house fires are easily preventable. We just know how they start. Other than having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, keep a keen eye for these potential dangers.

 

SPACE HEATERS

space heater

The old central heating system just won’t reach every inch of space in your home. That’s why plug-in space heaters are a great use to us. This is one of the toasty devices you might want to watch out for, so make sure to follow these simple rules: Make sure your heater is at least 3 feet away from anything flammable; plug your heater directly into the outlet rather than extension cords; and DO NOT EVEN TRY to tempt yourself on keeping your space heaters on when you go to sleep.

“Most space heater accidents happen while everyone is sleeping,” says Peter Duncanson, director of disaster restoration training for ServiceMaster. Just cuddle up with warm pajamas and good quality blankets.

 

COOKING

Stove-on-fire

We love cooking for our favorite comfort foods this season, and it’s quite easy for us to leave the stove for just a minute or so. Don’t you know that stovetop cooking is the leading cause of house fires year-round? It can occur within the first 15 minutes of cooking.

Safety experts say: “Stand by your pan!” Any chance that you really need to leave even for a minute, establish a rule to turn of the stove. If you’re into a big baking project which can take hours, you may leave the room but make sure to check on it at least ONCE every HALF-HOUR, and DO NOT leave the house without turning off the oven. Keep the flammable items like oven mitts and dish towels, 3-feet away from the stovetop at all times. You might get amazed on how heat can travel.

 

ELECTRICAL CORDS

electric cords

We love how every appliance we have connects in just one-same outlet. But have we ever thought that each year, overloaded or damaged circuits cause 3,000 fires? We could avoid this to happen by giving your cords a feel. If they are warm, they might be overloaded and rethink how many gadgets are plugged in. You should NEVER run extension cords under rugs or in walls, or string together several in a row.

 

FIREPLACES AND WOOD STOVES

fireplace safety

You gotta love warming your feet in front of a fire. Follow these rules and stay vigilant at all times: First, keep any flammable objects at least at 5-foot distance; Even if the fires out, it can still cause trouble since those embers can smolder for up to two weeks and might ignite once a trash got thrown out with them. The best policy for this is to empty ashes into a metal container, store them, keep it away from anything flammable for at least 2 weeks; And last but not the least, make sure to clean your fireplaces and flues at least weekly. Maybe hire a professional or you can do it by yourself with a solution of 4 parts water to 1 part bleach.

 

CANDLES

Towel, aromatic candles and other spa objects

If you want to have that instant Zen feeling in to a room, candles ought to do it. The popularity of these Zen Candles explains how there’s been a 50% surge in candle fires in the past 10 years. It’s really based on how we use them like lighting them up on top of tablecloths or near curtains, which can easily catch fire. “The wax can also get soft as it melts, and a hot candle can tip out of its holder; igniting wood surfaces and shelves,” explains Carol Freysinger, executive director of the National Candle Association. Never… again, NEVER leave a candle burning unattended. Battery-powered ones could also flicker just like the real thing, so leave no options to switch.

 

Source: realtor.com, wisegeek.com, electrical.about.com, willingborofire.org, fireplacemall.com, unravelingthemind.com

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