Keeping Warm in Winter, Safely

Every fall, homeowners across the country prepare their properties for the coming winter. In the northeast, this can be a fairly large undertaking, one that is much more involved than winter prep for a homeowner in a warmer area such as southern California. With rain, snow, ice, and high winds on the way, residents throughout New England have to plan ahead to ensure that they&;ll be safe and warm, and there are some basic steps involved in getting started.

The Heat is On
A freezing night during a snowstorm is no time to find out your furnace needs service. Before the temperature drops too low, it&;s a good idea to test your heating system to ensure that your home will stay warm when the time
comes. Not only is this important for the wellbeing of those living in your home, but it&;s also imperative for your home itself. Proper heating enables you to avoid problems such as frozen and burst pipes, which can cause serious flooding and costly damage.

To test your heating system, set your thermostat at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and wait to see if the heat turns on. That first time, you can expect a slight odor, which is normal. But if you detect a significant odor, or if the heat doesn&;t come on, or if the air it produces is not warm, you will need to have your heating system serviced.

Walk around your home and ensure that your vents are not blocked or closed off and that heated air is flowing freely. Turn your thermostat back down when you&;re done, and take that time to replace your air filter. For those who have propane or oil furnaces, fall is the time of year to have those storage tanks inspected and filled as well.

Safety First
Every year, thousands of people are sickened and many die as a result of carbon monoxide exposure. When testing your heating unit, you may also want to test for carbon monoxide. There are very inexpensive test “badges” available at most hardware stores that you can use to detect the presence of carbon monoxide gas. When the gas is present, the badges change color.

Of course, the badges work well for testing in a set time period while you&;re watching for results. However, carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless, and at high concentrations, it can cause loss of consciousness very quickly. This means that if your furnace begins to leak carbon monoxide gas during the night, you would not have the warning of dizziness, headache, or nausea that you might experience with daytime exposure. So it&;s also important to have carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home to alert and wake everyone if the gas is detected.

To add carbon monoxide detectors, you&;ll want to purchase, at a minimum, one for each bedroom and one for every level of your home. Many of these units can now be hardwired with the batteries only being used for backup, which means they&;ll still work in a power outage. Some alarm companies can monitor your home for carbon monoxide alarms just as they do for smoke and fire. Talk to your provider for more information.

If you already have carbon monoxide detectors, this is the time to test them, along with your smoke detectors. Swap out old batteries for all units, and keep extras on hand just in case.

How do you prepare for winter? What safety measures do you take?

More Resources

Get your free estimate!

Fill out the form below or call 1.800.975.6666 to Save 15%!