Prepare for the Coldest Part of Winter
If you thought that November was cold…Welcome to January, the coldest month in Minnesota! With average high temperatures in the 20’s and lows around 4 degrees, it is not surprising that nearly half of the home’s energy is used for heating this time of year. During the winter season not only can energy costs skyrocket, but there is a greater risk for accidental fires in the home. Alternative heating sources such as propane/space heaters, wood stoves, and fire places are a great way to reduce the fuel costs, but may be an accident waiting to happen if improperly used or maintained. This type of negligence is the leading cause of fire related deaths during the season. The cold weather in Minnesota sneaks up on us quickly. When you get ready to use your furnace, be sure that the filters have been replaced, and it is working properly. Also, change the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors regularly. Taking the necessary precautions to prevent hazardous situations could decrease the risk of fire and prevent the loss of priceless possessions, your entire home, or even the life of a loved one.
If you own your home, Homeowner’s Insurance will protect you in case of a fire. If you are a renter, some rental properties will be required to carry insurance that covers the dwelling, but you may want to research Renter’s insurance to protect your belongings and to ensure you have a place to stay in case you are displaced due to a fire.
To avoid accidents in the home and keep your family safe while trying to conserve energy, follow some of these tips below for the cooler months ahead:
Winterizing the Home
- Cover the windows with plastic inside and out to prevent drafts
- Seal off any air leaks with caulking
- Check weather stripping around the doors
- Turn off water valves outdoors and properly drain
- Clean chimneys chutes, flues, and fire place interior prior to use
- Keep flammables away from the heat source
- Use a heavy duty screen around the fireplace to keep ashes and sparks contained.
- Be sure to have a working carbon monoxide detector, smoke detectors
- Never use your oven for heating purposes
- Monitor your thermostat
- Turn space heaters off at bedtime or when you are not at home
- Keep lights off in areas that are not in use
- Use LED lights when possible
- Close doors to rooms that are not in use