Winter Preparation Tips – Part 1
There may not usually be a lot of snow to deal with in Atlanta, but there is still plenty of winter to prepare for. If you have a fireplace, it’s definitely recommended that you make preparations before the cold weather arrives. One of the most common causes of home heating fires is an unmaintained chimney that has a large buildup of flammable creosote in the flue lining. Because of this clear hazard, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends an annual chimney cleaning and inspection. There are additional benefits to an inspection, as you prepare for winter.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
Chimneys commonly sustain damage, over time. For instance, the mortar which helps to protect masonry from moisture damage only lasts about 25 years, whereas the bricks and other types of chimney masonry typically last for at least a century. Once the mortar wears out, the chimney can become structurally damaged. Chimney linings also deteriorate, creating the potential for a dangerous house fire. When there is even a small crack in the flue, the combustible parts of the home are exposed to extreme heat and can catch fire. When you have your chimney inspected before winter, you are helping to ensure that your fireplace or wood stove is safe to operate.
Know How to Use Fire Extinguishers
One of the basics in safety is to keep an operational fire extinguisher in your home. Fire extinguishers can help prevent small fires from becoming out-of-control blazes. Because these important safety items are typically used during a sudden emergency, it’s important that members of your family know how to operate the fire extinguisher. Practice proper use with each member of the household. You may be able to get help from a local fire department for training in the operation of fire extinguishers.
Install Alarms and Detectors
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are absolute life-saving devices. It is essential that you have an operational smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in your home, especially if you use a fireplace or a wood stove. Test smoke alarms every month; and routinely replace the batteries every six months, if not required sooner. Carbon monoxide detectors protect against the “silent killer.” Without the detector, it is almost impossible to recognize that a home is being filled with deadly fumes because carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. More people are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning every year than any other type of poisoning.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Every family is advised to prepare an emergency kit, particularly for winter, so that everyone in the household can have their needs met in the event that there is no electricity. Include the following in your emergency kit:
- A generator and plenty of fuel to keep it running.
- A battery-operated radio.
- Plenty of batteries for emergency devices.
- Food and water enough for the entire household for three days.
- Hand-operated can opener.
- Pet supplies.
- Sleeping bags.
- A first-aid kit and needed medications.
- Warm caps and mittens.
- Throughout the season, keep at least a half a tank of gas in your vehicle.
See more practical advice for winter preparations in this continuing series. In the meantime, if your chimney hasn’t yet been inspected or cleaned, call our chimney professionals today.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004