To make sure your home and family get through this coming winter both safe and sound, you should take the time to do your own home safety audit. Follow these steps to perform your winter safety audit.
STEP ONE – INSPECT THE FURNACE
Start with the obvious and have a professional inspect and service your furnace. Everyone is going to be spending more time indoors during the winter. You should make sure that your furnace is working properly, the pilot light and the thermostat are both working properly and the filter is clean. You should also make sure that there are no leaks or openings in your supply lines or furnace ducts.
Experts recommend changing regular furnace filters once a month during the heating season and changing high-efficiency filters at least every three months. Make sure to get a supply of filters that fit your unit. Having clean furnace filters is extremely important. A blocked furnace filter can cause the “limit switch” on your furnace to activate, turning it off and leaving you without heat until the switch is replaced by a professional.
Be sure to remove any flammable items from around your furnace including paints, paint thinners, and paper products. If you have a fireplace, be sure to have the chimney cleaned to get rid of any creosote buildup and eliminate the possibility of chimney fire.
STEP 2 – SEAL THE FOUNDATION AGAINST RODENTS
Seal any openings in your walls including the tiny ones and move any piles of wood or firewood away from your foundation. A mouse can get through a 1/4-inch opening. This will keep the mice and voles out of your home. These animals are not dangerous but could be carrying diseases. No one wants to share their home with dirty rodents.
People need handrails and solid steps in icy conditions so be sure your steps and handrails are sound. Repair them now while the weather is still warm. Doing so can prevent accidents from happening this winter
STEP 3 – CUT THE OUTDOOR WATER SUPPLY
Shut off the water supply to your outside taps and drain the supply lines as it gets colder in the fall. Doing so guarantees that there will be no water left in the pipes to freeze and burst them.
STEP 4 – PREPARE THE CARBON MONOXIDE AND SMOKE DETECTORS
Be sure to have fresh batteries for your Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors if you have these installed in your home. If you do not have these installed, now is the time to do so. They are easy to install and inexpensive. Most importantly, they could save a life. Also, be sure to have your fire extinguisher checked. Consider buying a new one if the extinguisher is more than 10 years old.
STEP 5 – PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES
Prepare your emergency kit. You will need candle and a lighter or matches, a flashlight and batteries, a portable radio, blankets, and warm clothes for everyone. Be sure to stock bottled water and nonperishable foods for your family and pets, a first aid kit, And finally, be sure to have a camp cooking stove in order to have warm meals even if it’s only canned soup.