Winter Safety Precautions in Iowa

Are You Taking Proper Steps to Prepare Your Des Moines Home for Winter?

February 7, 2017

As a Des Moines metro resident and homeowner, you know the steps you have to take to keep the outside of your home safe. Whether that’s shoveling your sidewalk, spreading salt or removing ice dams, keeping your family safe is a top priority. While you’re keeping the outside of your home safe, what are you doing to protect the inside of your home?

Any time that you spend devoted to winter home safety will give you a stronger sense of security inside your home. These winter home safety tips will help you make sure that your indoor systems operate efficiently, dependably and safely all winter.

Heating Equipment Safety Tips

Get Your Heating System Professionally Checked

Have your heating system checked by a licensed HVAC professional. Not only will it cut your heating costs, but it will also ensure your safety. Furnaces and boilers work hard for months on end, and a professional will go through it carefully and adjust its many parts, thoroughly clean it and verify all the safety devices work. To ensure that your furnace is in tip-top shape, schedule an appointment with an HVAC technician before the temperatures tumble.

Check the Heating System’s Cleanliness

Before your scheduled appointment, walk through your home and inspect the areas close to the ductwork for excessive dust deposits. Excessive dust could indicate a ductwork leak. Besides wasting energy, these leaks can pull carbon monoxide (CO) into your home’s air from any vented gas appliances you use.

Minimize the chance of a fire by keeping the space surrounding your furnace clear. Don’t store items in the area of your furnace, especially items or materials that are flammable. If, for some reason, your furnace is in an area where non-flammable items must be stored during the winter months, keep several feet between the closest item and the furnace.

Change the Furnace Filter

Be diligent about checking the air filter for the furnace throughout the heating season. A dirty filter drives up heating bills in the short term and decreases overall furnace safety in the long term. When dust covers the heat exchanger inside the furnace, the furnace will retain more heat because the system is overworking, which leads to a number of safety problems. Specifically, the emission of carbon monoxide. In the winter, it’s important to check or change the air filter for your furnace at least once a month.

Water Heater

Next to your HVAC system, the water heater is the second hardest-working appliance in your home. During the colder months, the water coming into your home is colder, meaning your home’s water heater needs to work harder. When someone in your home starts to use water, the incoming cold water mixes with the hot water, causing the water temperature to cool. This is especially true in older water heaters that have sediment buildup.

A Small Change That Leads to a Big Warm Up

A water heater should be set around 120 degrees to save energy and prevent scalding, but this may not feel hot enough when the temperature drops outside. By increasing the water heater’s temperature by only five to ten degrees, you’ll enjoy a hotter shower and a safer winter.

Test Your Water Heater’s Pressure

Homeowners should test the pressure relief valve twice a year to verify its operation. If you don’t see water flowing when you depress the lever, contact your plumber for a replacement. This valve prevents excessive pressure from building that could result in an explosion.

Smoke and CO Detectors

According to the National Fire Protection Association, home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and home heating devices and equipment are involved in one of every six reported home fires. Shockingly enough, the majority of those winter fires take place between 5 and 8 pm. It’s likely that your whole family is gathered at home during those hours, so how can you keep them safe?

Install Detectors Throughout Your Home

To keep everyone in your family safe, install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. If you already have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, start the heating season by checking the detectors. A battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke detector should be tested monthly since it uses considerable energy, and these detectors are the only way to know if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide or smoke are building in your home.

Stay Safe with Lozier This Winter

Winter indoor home safety depends on maintaining the heating system and water heater and making sure that all of your home’s detectors are fully functional. Not sure if your home is where it should be? Call the experts at Lozier Heating and Cooling to come out to your home and take a looking at your home’s systems. Remember, we keep you happy inside!