As the weather cools and we start spending more time indoors, take a few extra steps to boost fire safety in the home. From keeping our fireplaces clean to careful use of space heaters, a little effort can go a long way in keeping our families safe all winter. Here are nine tips to make your home safe and comfortable this season.

1. Inspect and Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney

Before lighting the first fire of the season, inspect your fireplace and chimney for cracks and blockages. If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned, do so before building a fire. A buildup of soot and debris can be hazardous and may lead to a chimney fire.

2. Keep Flammable Materials Away from the Fireplace

Relocate any flammable belongings to at least five feet away from your fireplace when it’s in use, including furniture, curtains, rugs, and clothing. Make sure to install a heavy-duty screen in front of the fireplace to contain embers and keep small children away from the flames.

3. Fire Safety in the Home: Use Care with Space Heaters

Space heaters are great for providing extra warmth during the cold months but use them cautiously. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and never leave a space heater unattended while it’s on. Keep furniture, curtains, and rugs at least five feet away from the heater. Choose a device with an automatic shut-off feature so you don’t have to worry if you accidentally fall asleep with it running.

4. Never Use the Oven to Heat Your Home

It might seem like a good idea to open the oven door to help heat your home, but it’s hazardous. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you need extra warmth, invest in a good quality space heater instead.

5. Keep Portable Generators Outside

If you lose power during a winter storm, never bring a portable generator into your home or garage (even if you have the doors open). Portable generators produce harmful carbon monoxide fumes that can quickly accumulate to dangerous levels inside enclosed spaces.

6. Fire Safety: Be Careful with Candles in Your Home

Candles are another common source of house fires during the winter months. If you must use candles, always extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the room where they’re burning. It’s also essential to keep them away from anything that could catch fire easily, like curtains, rugs, and clothing. Don’t leave kids or pets unattended around lit candles.

7. Using Extension Cords Safely

One common cause of house fires is a misuse of extension cords. Don’t overload an extension cord by plugging in too many devices at once; this can cause the cord to overheat and melt or catch fire. Plug extension cords directly into outlets instead of using power strips, and make sure they’re not running under rugs where they could overheat.

8. Maintain the Furnace to Boost Fire Safety in the Home

If you have a gas furnace, have it serviced by a professional every year before winter to ensure it’s operating safely and efficiently. If you notice strange smells or noises from your furnace, shut it off immediately and call a technician for repairs.

9. Test Your Smoke Alarms Monthly

Once each month, use the test button to verify the smoke detectors are working, a task even small children can assist with. Replace the batteries twice each year. The device itself should be replaced after ten years of use.

These helpful tips for fire safety will keep your family and home safe while staying warm this winter.

On Point Property Inspections provides home inspection services in the Greater Triangle area of North Carolina. Contact us to request an appointment.