As the temperature starts to drop and the leaves start to turn it is never too soon to make some preliminary action to prepare for cooler weather. Not only will it save you money on your utility bills it will help ensure your safety and comfort during cold weather.
Check your smoke detectors and batteries
Remember that even though here in Arizona our times do not change, when everyone else falls back and hour is the time that everyone should check their smoke detectors and those batteries.
This is the one night of the year when our children get to dress up and have a good time getting lots and lots of candy. This is also one night of the year where we need to remember to use extra safety precautions.
No matter how you celebrate and give thanks, do so in a safe manner.
Check your Heating System
Before it gets really cold—early October is the ideal time—turn on your heating unit to ensure it is working properly. Your unit has been sitting dormant for about 6 months, so you’ll want to make sure everything is in proper working order before you really need it. While furnaces are a leading cause of house fires in the US, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of furnace fires:
- Regularly replace furnace filters.
- Keep all areas around the furnace clean and unobstructed.
- Keep the burner area clean and clear of debris.
- Keep all combustible items at least six-inches away from the vent pipe.
- Never close off more than 20% of heat registers.
Should you notice any issues with your heating system during the test run, contact a professional immediately. For preventative care, have your central heating system cleaned and serviced by a certified HVAC contractor once annually. A proper working heating system greatly reduces fire risks, but also reduces utility costs as they work to heat your space more efficiently.
Fireplace Safety: 101
Throughout the year, everything from crud to critters cozy up in your chimney. Keep your fireplace clear of debris, and have it inspected each year before use by a professional chimney sweep. Note: when hiring a contractor, always do your research!
If you have a gas fireplace, have all lines and connections inspected before flipping the switch. A professional chimney inspection uncovers any issues and necessary repairs that need to be made – Don’t skip this step!
In addition to yearly cleanings and inspections, there are a few things you can do to enhance fireplace safety:
- Use a fireplace screen, guard, or glass doors to keep hot ash and sparks contained.
- Store extra wood, and other types of combustible materials, at least five-feet away from your fireplace.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Burn seasoned hardwoods, such as oak, that have been split and stored in a safe and dry environment for at least six-months.
- Keep fires small – Never overload your fireplace.
- When building a fire, strategically place logs on a metal grate at the back end of your fireplace; always use kindling to ignite fire.
For any questions or more information, contact the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Division at 928-537-5100.