Local

November 16, 2012

Home heating tips for a safer winter

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Anthony B. Wilson
99 Air Base Wing Safety


NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Winter will soon be upon us as the cooler weather finally hits the Las Vegas valley and Nellis Air Force Base. Even though it doesn’t get as cold as other parts of the country, we still need to take the necessary steps to ensure we are prepared for the cold weather. The 99th Air Base Wing Safety office offers some tips to help keep you warm and maybe save some money during the winter months.

Some people may already be preparing to light the first fire of the season in their fireplaces. But using flammable liquids or gasoline to start the fire is discouraged. Do not burn trash or paper inside your wood burning fireplace, and always keep the doors or screens closed to prevent hot ambers and sparks from leaving the fireplace enclosure. Always keep clothing, furniture, decorations, etc., at least four feet from your fireplace to prevent them from catching fire. Ensure your damper is fully open any time there are hot ashes in the fireplace; this will prevent carbon monoxide from building up inside your home. Kids and pets should maintain a buffer zone of a minimum of three feet from any heating source.

If using a portable or space heater inside the home, ensure it is equipped with an automatic shut-off device that will turn the heater off if it tips over. These types of heaters should also have an overheat protection device, thermostat control, and must always be disconnected when not in use. Space heaters should be plugged directly into the wall and not used with multiple outlet strips or with extension cords. Do not place the heater near furniture, curtains, bedding, loose fitting clothing or any other materials that could easily ignite.

To help hold all that heat inside your home, it would be a good idea to check around all door and window seals for leaks. If any leaks are found seal them with caulk, insulation or weather stripping to prevent heat from escaping and to save on your heating cost.

Another cost saving tip is to reverse the direction of ceiling fans in the home and run them on the low setting. While heating your home, the warmer air will rise, with the ceiling fans running in a reverse direction, the warmer air will be forced out and down along the walls and floors of your home, creating better circulation of the warmer air.

Now is also a good time to check the smoke detectors in your home. Batteries in smoke detectors should be changed at least once a year. A good reminder to change the batteries is while you are setting your clocks back for daylight savings time. Smoke detectors should be checked monthly for proper operation. A properly working smoke detector can make the difference between life and death for you and your family.

While heating your home during the winter months, there is a chance of carbon monoxide buildup that can be produced from wood burning or gas burning fireplaces and furnaces in your home. Carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled, however it can kill a person in a matter of minutes. Everyone is highly encouraged to obtain carbon monoxide detectors for the home. Detectors should be placed near the sleeping areas of the home. Do not place near fuel burning, heating or cooking appliances. Remember carbon monoxide detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and smoke detectors do not serve as carbon monoxide detectors. Therefore you must have both types of detectors to ensure your family’s safety.

Enjoy the winter months, they will be gone just as you get used to it. Before you know it, the temperature will be in the triple digits again here in Las Vegas and at Nellis Air Force Base. Stay warm and have an enjoyable winter season.




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