Winter Ready Tips

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As we get closer to winter, temperatures are likely to cause residents to light a fire in their fireplace or push up the thermostat. But before the first cold spell hits, experts say everyone should do a little winter cleaning.

Keeping the fireplace checked and cleaned is a matter of safety and peace of mind. Fireplaces, etc. General Manager, Gary Lemke says your chimney and appliances should be serviced once a year. Owner of A Clean Sweep, James Gray agrees and says a blocked chimney can cause a chimney fire which could destroy a home.

"When it catches fire there's a lot of pressure and a lot of heat inside and it does damage to the unit, and it could actually spread into the house," Gray said.

Fireplaces are not the only heating sources that should be inspected. Service Manager of Barker's Heating and Cooling, Ronald Droddy said residents with gas furnaces should keep an eye out for several things around their heating unit.

"Look for rust, cob webs, or anything else that may be inside the furnace that could catch fire."

Another important thing to look at is the filter. Droddy says a dirty filter is one of the biggest things that will cause you to use more gas.

Droddy also recommends anyone with a central heating and cooling unit have it inspected for possible damaged caused by last week's power outage. Most central heating units have an electrical control box, and if it was damaged, it might not turn on when the resident needs it.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is another danger to be aware of, and can happen without the homeowner knowing.

"The air passing over the hearting exchanger is what causes heating of your home," Droddy said. "If that has a crack you get carbon monoxide in your home. And many homeowners never realize they are in danger. They just turn up the thermostat."

To help detect the threat, Droddy suggest installing a carbon monoxide detector in the sleeping areas of ones home.

All three experts say residents should schedule their inspections and cleanings now before the rush to insure they are not left out in the cold when winter hits.