Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tips to Stay Warm, Stay Comfortable and Stay Safe in Your Home All Winter Long

Although we've had a few days here and there with surprisingly mild temperatures, there is no denying that winter is here and it's time to bundle up and stay indoors (unless you're one of those crazy outdoor types that actually wants to go out when it's this cold).

When snow stretches as far as I can see, the windchill is below 0°, and the outdoors basically looks like this...

winter home

...then all I want to do is burrow down under a quilt or get cozy with a book in front of the fireplace.

So, to help ensure a wonderful and cozy winter season, licensed contractor and TV home-improvement expert David Leon from Home Made Simple on the Oprah Winfrey Network has provided the following tips to help make your home as comfy as possible this season:
    David Leon
  • Heating system and air filters – Have your heating system serviced every year and check the filters system every month. Also, inspect your system's exhaust vent for rust, damage, or any corrosion.
  • Seal the leaks – Check to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed so heat doesn't escape. Inspect caulking and weather stripping around openings for wear and tear, and replace if necessary.
  • Plumbing – Busted water pipes can cause expensive damage. Take time now to wrap outside pipes that might be exposed to extreme temperatures. Review the locations for the main water and fuel shut-off valves with all members of your household.
  • Have a plan – When you own a home, you know that things are going to break down – but when it happens, do you know who you’ll call or what you’ll do? A home warranty is a great way to protect your budget against costly repairs, and save yourself the time and hassle of finding a qualified professional to get major systems and appliances up and running again.
broken pipes

This winter, homeowners should also be aware of important warning signs and potential heating system hazards to protect their homes from any accidents. In 2011, faulty and improperly used heating equipment accounted for nearly 400 deaths nationwide, more than 53,000 fires and $893 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

To help prevent heating system hazards, be aware of the following critical signs when you're indoors this winter:
  • Always be aware of gas odors. If you smell gas around your heating unit, leave the area and call your gas company immediately.
  •  Be sure your pilot light is burning a steady blue flame. If it is not, call your heating professional or a gas company.
  • Take a close look at your exhaust fan for any rust, damage or deterioration. If you notice any, call a qualified professional and describe what you see to determine whether a repair is needed.
Along with these warning signs, American Home Shield, the nation’s leading provider of home protection plans, reminds homeowners to use extra care when operating space heaters. For instance, they should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord, and turned off at night. When in use, always be sure space heaters are a safe distance from curtains and other flammable items.

This winter, don't take any chances! Take the time to watch the helpful videos covering a variety of home maintenance tips and home heating warning signs that are hosted by David Leon and published on American Home Shield's YouTube channel. Plus, visit their informational Home Matters blog, which serves as a great resource to help homeowners balance their busy lives with tips and news on everything home.

What do you do to stay warm while staying safe during winter?

This post is part of a compensated partnership opportunity with American Home Shield, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.


slehan said...

Good tips. I don't use a space heater.

slehan at juno dot com

Sarah Matos said...

Awesome tips. We just bought a energy efficient osscilating tower heater. Always unplug when not in use. It is a great option to take the chill out without turning on our baseboard electric heat.

slehan said...

I need to check my exhaust fan.

slehan at juno dot com

Karen Glatt said...

I always change the furnace filter because it helps keep my home warm and I also have the pipes wrapped to make sure that they do not burst,and I sit under a blanket and wear warm clothes and drink hot tea in the winter to keep warm!

Joanne said...

We have the chimney cleaned every fall. My husband has made great window insulation covers that we can see through.