Winter Tips and Tricks!

Safety Tips for Portable Electric Heaters

As the cold air begins to set in, many will pull out the handy space heater. Maybe you work in a chilly office, your furnace or HVAC is out, or want to keep the thermostat turned down while warming the room you occupy. For these and other scenarios, a portable electric-powered space heater sure comes in handy.

One of the most important things to remember is that electric-powered portables are the only unvented space heater safe to use indoors. This is because they do not fill your living space with undesirable combustion products like carbon monoxide, which can be generated by liquid-fueled heaters.

However, their compact size and convenience come with a tradeoff: Extra diligence and careful operation are required to prevent fires, injuries and property damage.

  • Three feet from the heat – The most significant risk is placing heaters too close to combustible materials like bedding, furniture, drapes, carpets or clothing. Blocking the release of heat could overheat the motor, switch or wires and cause a fire. Likewise, be aware of what is above and around the heater. You don’t want something to fall on it.
  • Be the adult in the room – Kids and pets are particularly vulnerable to injuries or damage caused by a portable heater. Because they are unpredictable, you want to keep a kid-free and pet-free zone around the space heater. For these and other reasons, never leave a working portable heater unattended. It is also advised that you turn off a portable heater before going to sleep or leaving the room or house.
  • Plug into safety – Electrical fires can be avoided with the right precautions. NEVER plug heaters into extension cords or power strips! This puts too much resistance on the power draw, raising the temperature at the plug.
  • Use with caution and confidence – It is important to remember a space heater’s limitations. Nevertheless, when operated properly, a plug-in portable heater can be a prized appliance in a pinch. It is also important to note they should never be used as a primary or permanent source of heat.
Winter Home Maintenance Reminders: During the winter months especially, there are numerous items in your home that need to be maintained. Below is a list of the most common winter maintenance items which should be checked each season.

  • Winterize outside sprinklers, hoses and faucets
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts
  • Change furnace filters
  • Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl space and attic
  • Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors
  • Clean kitchen exhaust hoods and filters
  • Check the attic for adequate ventilation
  • Check your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles; as well as, breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys
  • Store firewood at least 30 feet away from your home
  • Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Check outdoor lighting fixtures, replace bulbs
  • Maintain your heating unit/furnace

If you need assistance or just don’t have the time to get the job done, contact ANDY ONCALL®!

Energy Efficiency

If there is one true fact when it comes to heating fuel or electricity it is that both sources of energy will never return to the prices of the past. Therefore, to save money and still live comfortably homeowners have to take matters into their own hands.

  1. Take Control of Your Thermostat: Turning down the heat to 68 degrees in the winter can save 5% – 10% on heating bills, and more by turning it lower when you’re asleep or away from home.
  2. Wrap those Water Pipes: Insulating the first three feet of pipe into a water heater is especially important and can help raise the water temperature 2 – 4 degrees. See our DIY article on the front.
  3. Winter Cleaning: Dirty air filters not only affect indoor air quality, they can reduce airflow, costing more during the winter months when heating is crucial.
  4. Fireplace: Keeping your fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use will prevent heat loss and save money.
  5. Bundle Up Your Water Heater: Putting an insulation jacket or ‘blanket’ around water heaters can prevent a significant amount of heat loss. You can save 4% – 9% in water heating costs.

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