Winter is here, and it can be challenging to stay cozy and warm. As temperatures drop, homeowners use different heating methods to warm themselves and their families. Unfortunately, heating the living spaces also increases the risk of a house fire. Take precautions to heat your home safely. Here are a few essential tips every homeowner can use to keep their houses warm and safe throughout the winter.

How to Heat Your Home Safely

1. Take Care of Your HVAC System

Before using other heating methods, make sure your HVAC system is in good condition. Schedule a professional inspection to check your system’s filters, ductwork, and vents. Dirty air filters reduce heating and cooling efficiency and, if not replaced, can cause the system to overheat.

2. Use Electric Space Heaters Correctly

Electric space heaters take the chill out of a room but can be dangerous if not used carefully. Before buying a portable heater, verify it has safety features, including tip-over and overheat protection. Never leave space heaters unattended, and don’t use extension cords or power strips to plug them in. Also, never place a heater near blankets or furniture, which can catch fire.

3. Maintain Fireplaces and Wood Stoves to Heat Your Home Safely

Fireplaces and wood stoves are popular heating methods but pose a fire hazard if not maintained. Before lighting a fire, inspect the chimney for leaves, animal nests, and creosote buildup. Only use well-seasoned dry wood to help prevent creosote accumulation in the chimney. Invest in a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying onto your carpet or furniture.

4. Keep Flammable Items Away from Heating Devices

Keep flammable items like paper, clothing, curtains, and furniture away from all heating sources, including space heaters and wood stoves. Never use your heater to dry clothes, and maintain a safe zone of at least five feet around heating sources.

5. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are essential safety devices your home needs. Install them on every level of the house and in each bedroom. Test the detectors monthly to verify they are functioning. Replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms yearly.

Winter is the perfect time to enjoy indoor activities with family and friends. However, safely heating your home is necessary to prevent house fires and keep your family safe. With these tips, you will enjoy a warm and cozy winter without safety concerns.

Buyer’s Edge provides inspection services for homebuyers and sellers in Western North Carolina. Contact us to schedule an appointment.