Winter Home Tune Up
Harsh winter weather is a fact of life in Canada. Our homes become our refuge as days are shorter and colder. We want to cozy up and cocoon in a warm, safe home.
While it’s necessary and economical to do everything possible to keep heat in our homes, we still need to stay safe. You can keep cold air and drafts out with double-glazed windows and doors and thorough insulation. You can enjoy alternate heat with fires in the fireplace or wood-burning stoves. You can ensure the perimeter of doors and windows are sealed and airtight with simple weather stripping kits found at hardware stores. But, to stay energy efficient and safe, follow these tips:
Schedule a mid-winter furnace tune-up
A mid-winter furnace tune-up could ensure you never experience a broken furnace during a winter cold snap. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of reduced heating costs, as well as detection of any leaking gas. Signs that your furnace needs a tune up:
• Visible damage
• Unusual or loud noises
• Odd smells
• Poor air quality - evidenced by increased dust in your home and asthma-like conditions among family members
Maintain baseboard heaters
If you have electric baseboard heaters in your home, make sure you vacuum the fins regularly and keep drapes and curtains several inches above their hot surfaces. Thermal drapes that are closed at night keep cold air out, and then opened to harness the heat of the sun will make a difference in your comfort level and heating bill!
Protect your home from fire
Winter is the deadliest season for home fires, with heating as the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries.  Today, most homes have a smoke detector, but if you’re using stand-alone, retail smoke detectors and you’re not there when the alarm sounds or if it doesn’t wake you from a deep sleep, you could allow a fire to do damage to your home or even turn deadly. When you opt for a monitored smoke detector, as soon as the alarm sounds, a signal is sent to a monitoring centre, which in turn, contacts you or a person designated on your call list and even first responders, if necessary. As for your smoke detector locations: have a kitchen smoke detector, a smoke detector in your garage and outside all bedrooms and sleeping areas. It is recommended that your smoke detector battery replacement should be scheduled at least twice a year. A good reminder for changing the battery is when daylight savings time begins and ends, so if you didn’t do it in November, it may be overdue.
Don’t fall victim to the silent killer
You protect your home from fire, but you should also be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Called “the silent killer”, CO is different from gas, because you cannot see, smell or taste it. Yet, it can become deadly in minutes.  By the time CO begins to affect you, you may already be compromised with dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. In winter months, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning rises with fires in fireplaces, heating sources, water heaters. A monitored carbon monoxide detector can help keep you and your family safe. In order to ensure your protection, carbon monoxide detector placement should be on every floor in your home, as well as near attached garages. Important! Carbon monoxide detector mounting height: Get the best reading of your home’s air when you install your detector 5 feet from the floor.
Winter can be a great season to enjoy when your home is safe and energy efficient. For more details on how TELUS SmartHome Security can help keep your home safe this winter with monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, call 855.958.8181.
1. National Fire Protection Association
2. Health Link BC
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