It’s winter again in Oklahoma, which means you need to be prepared for everything from blizzards to ice storms (not to mention our year-round earthquakes). While we can’t help you with the next 4.0 magnitude tremor, we can get you prepared for the next frigid front of inclement weather.
Taking the Heat
Heating is the number one safety concern for homes in the winter. Space heaters, fire places and electric blankets are all essential components in keeping us warm – and also present some unique safety issues.
- Space Heaters – Aptly named as they require a bit of space for maximum performance and safety. Keep a unit at least three feet away from curtains, bedding or anything combustible. Never use an extension cord for portable electric heaters, always plug them directly into an outlet.
- Tip Switches – When shopping for a portable heater, be mindful of the safety features. Consider buying a model that has “tip switches,” which shut off the power if the heating unit ever tips over.
Read more about Portable Heater Safety
- Heater Refueling – If you are using a gas heater, make sure that you only refuel outside. Follow the instructions carefully and only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer. And never refill a heater when it is still running or still hot.
- Access – Young children should never have access to portable heaters whether gas or electric. Make sure that they understand the dangers of a heating unit and always make sure they are supervised in rooms containing them.
- Ventilation – Space heaters that run on fuel (butane, oil, natural gas) should have proper ventilation.
Baby, It’s Cold Inside
When that ice storm hits and knocks down your power line, you’re going to need a back-up plan. As many Oklahoman’s have already experienced, sometimes it can take up to a week to get the power returned. A fire place is always the best short-term option, but homes without one need to consider safe alternatives.
- Kitchen Stoves – Never use your kitchen stove or stove top as a heating source for your home. A stove is a fire hazard and is also a source for toxic fumes.
- Temporary Heat Sources – If you have no power in your home, a temporary heat source is a short-term option. Wood burning stoves, kerosene heaters and gas catalytic heaters can provide sufficient heat for a few days/weeks until power has been restored.
Read more about Emergency Heat Sources
- No Charcoal – Never use charcoal used for outdoor grills inside the home. Charcoal releases carbon monoxide, an odorless and toxic fume that can kill.
- Ventilation – Again, never burn anything larger than a candle in your home without proper ventilation. Make sure windows, doors and fireplace flumes are open if anything inside is burning.
- Fireplace Safety – Your fireplace area should be protected. A metal screen or glass doors will help prevent sparks from igniting furniture, carpet and other combustible items in your home.
- Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms are safety essentials for every home. But when the power is out and you are resorting to a fireplace or space heaters for warmth, make certain that the alarms are running properly. Test the alarms on a regular basis and make sure to change the batteries every year.
Keep these tips in mind throughout the season and enjoy a safe and warm Oklahoma winter!
For more winter heating tips, read our other blogs on the topic:
- Furnace Winterization Checklist
- How to Seal Air Leaks Around the Home
- Fall Home Maintenance To-Do List
- HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Call us anytime for 24/7 service this winter with NO OVERTIME CHARGES: (405) 794-8900.