Whole-home Safety Tips for Spring, and Year round
Protect your family and property
While winter is giving way to spring soon, and keeping our South Shore homes warm and comfortable is a top priority.
With that, we also have to put safety first in doing so. We’ve put together some tips — including some that apply year-round — so you can keep your home and loved ones safe.
Use a diffusion screen on your fireplace
While it’s great to stretch out before a fire, it’s important that there be something between you and it, especially if you have carpeting, rugs or wood floors in front of the fireplace. Diffusion screens prevent burning logs from rolling out of the fireplace, as well as stop sparks and embers from popping out.
Be smart with space heaters
According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters cause 43 percent of home heating fires in the United States. Only use them on a level, non-flammable surface like ceramic tile (NOT carpeting or rugs). Plug the heater into an outlet with a ground fault interrupter. Turn them off every time you leave the room, even if you think you’ll only be gone for a minute. Keep a clear space of at least three feet around a space heater, and keep kids and pets out of that clear space. Do not set anything on the space heater or use it to warm a blanket or throw. And NEVER leave your space heater on while you’re sleeping, whether it’s overnight or an afternoon nap.
Know what to do if you smell gas
If you use propane in your home, you need to know what to do in the rare event of a propane leak and when you smell the rotten-egg smell of propane. Read our Propane Safety page to learn more.
Take care of your equipment and appliances
Regular, professional maintenance of your heating and cooling equipment can spot problems before they become safety risks. Also have the ducts professionally cleaned. Check your air filters once a month and change as needed.
Don’t crowd your heating system
There should be a minimum of two feet of clear space around a furnace. And make that more for any flammable materials like paper, cardboard boxes, clothes, or rags. Also keep that clear space free of dust and lint, as they are both combustible.
Take care of your dryer vent
Clean the lint filter screen of your dryer after each load to help prevent buildup up lint in the ductwork. It also helps your dryer run more efficiently. But even a clean lint filter screen isn’t enough to get all the lint, which means some lint will go in the ducts, where it can build up and cause a fire. Have your dryer vent ductwork cleaned at least once a year.
Check your detectors
With the spring ahead to Daylight Savings Time has just occurred, remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as test them. Also, if your CO detector is five years old or older, it needs to be replaced.
Dial down the water heater
Most water heaters are installed with a factory-set temperature of 140˚ Fahrenheit. That high of a temperature increases the risk of scalding, especially in children or the elderly. Most of the time, a temperature of 120˚ gets the job done. However, if you or someone in your home has a respiratory condition or a compromised immune system, you may need to keep the temperature at 140˚ to prevent the low risk of the growth of the bacteria which causes Legionnaire’s Disease. Discuss this with your doctor.
Frank Lamparelli is dedicated to safety when it comes to serving our customers, whether it’s heating oil or propane delivery or equipment service. Contact us today to learn more about the fuels we deliver, and the home heating services we can provide you!