Winters in the Pacific Northwest are often fairly mild, so when temperatures plummet many of us look beyond the thermostat to boost the heat. Keeping that in mind, here are a few helpful tips:
Get an annual inspection to check the mortar and ensure your chimney is free of creosote and ready for flames. Burn wood, not paper, and if you have a freestanding screen, make sure it sits close to the fireplace opening and is high enough to catch explosive embers. Glass doors add assurance those hot sparks are contained and they’ll help keep your heat from escaping up the chimney after you put the fire out.
The lifespan of an electric blanket varies based on quality, so before using make sure it’s in safe working order. After long-term storage, check the cord for kinks, tears, or imperfections before turning it on. While using the blanket, keep it as flat as possible to protect the wires from pinching or coiling.
Be sure the heater is clean and the cord is plugged directly into a wall outlet; don’t use an extension cord or power strip. Keep furniture, bedding, and flammable items at least three feet away, and be sure not to leave space heaters unattended or on overnight while you doze off. Shop for a heater that has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over it shuts off. Use one that fits your space; one that’s too large will consume too much energy and raise your bills while one that’s too small will have to work harder.
And finally, check your smoke alarms regularly during the winter months. Most home fires happen this time of year, so take these precautions to help keep your home safe and cozy for winters to come.