When the temperature goes down, a lot of safety hazards go on, especially during the holidays. Damage from faulty electrical connections, chimney fires, heating systems and Christmas decorations are top offenders that can drive up your homeowners insurance claims and rates. Even scarier is the possibility of death from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Take some commonsense precautions to keep your home from going up in flames. They might even save a life.
To prevent a devastating chimney fire, have a professional clean your chimney and check it for any damages. Use a quality fire screen and andirons prevent fires from sparks and rolling logs. Never use lighter fluid to start a chimney fire. Doing so qualifies you for a Darwin Award you might not be around to collect.
Have your heating system checked by a licensed HVAC contractor. Many fires are caused by system malfunctions. Change the filters frequently during heavy use.
Check the cords and plugs on all electrical heating systems including electric blankets. If they’re frayed, replace them. If you use portable heating systems, be sure they are safe for indoor use, don’t use them for extended periods of time and near use them near anything flammable. Do we have to tell you not to use a charcoal grill to heat a room? See comment above about Darwin Awards.
If you use electric Christmas lights, be sure they are in good repair. The new cooler LED lights use less energy and emit less heat. Don’t leave them on for prolonged periods or when you’re not around to supervise them.
Putting up a Christmas tree or live greenery? Keep it watered (use a spray bottle on wreaths and swags) to prevent greens from drying out and turning into tinder.
Don’t place flammable furniture and rugs over or near heat registers and heat sources.
Don’t overload electrical circuits. Use top quality surge protectors and powerstrips.
Candles are major culprits, especially during holidays. Never burn them unsupervised. Consider replacing them with the new battery-operated flameless candles.
During cold winter months, homes are shut up tight, reducing air circulation and creating the danger of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning. You can’t see it or smell it. Invest in a quality carbon monoxide detector.
Check your smoke detectors and change the batteries regularly.
Don't forget these simple winter safety precautions, it can help you save on your homeowners insurance quotes.