Because of the cold weather outside, many of us are using fireplaces, space heaters, and automatic starters to keep ourselves and our loved ones warm. However, some of these devices can be harmful if we use them improperly. Here are a couple of reminders about heating up in the winter.
Fireplaces: Fireplaces are a great way to keep warm, but only wood, twigs, and paper should be used in the fire. DO NOT burn any plastic or other materials that could release toxic gases into your home, and DO NOT use any lighter fluid or other fuel to start the fire. Potentially explosive vapors could be released into your home if you do so. Additionally, make sure you open your damper before starting a fire and keep it open until all of the ashes are cool. This will help keep carbon monoxide and other poisonous gasses out of your home.
Space Heaters: Electric space heaters can be a very easy and effective way to heat portions of your home, but without the proper safety precautions, they can pose severe shock and fire hazards. Make sure when you’re using the heaters you place them a safe distance (around three feet is recommended) away from anything that could overheat and catch on fire. It is also suggested to make sure all of your smoke alarms are working incase an accident were to happen. Do not plug the heater into an extension cord or power strip, and unplug the heater when you are done using it to avoid shock dangers.
Automatic Car Starters: Automatic car starters are great devices to use when it comes to staying warm this winter, but using them incorrectly could be very dangerous. If you are planning to prestart your car in your garage, make sure the garage door is open BEFORE turning your car on! Letting your car warm up in a closed garage can result in a build-up of carbon monoxide which could be fatal to those who enter. If you feel that you might be forgetful when it comes to opening your garage, try parking in the driveway or manually starting your car and backing it out when you do so.