Winter Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe, Warm and Stress-Free

House in Snow

Winter Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe, Warm and Stress-Free

The cold season is all about keeping warm and comfortable, but it’s not just you that needs some extra TLC during the winter months. From space heater dangers to frozen pipes, there are many ways in which your home can become vulnerable when the temperature begins to drop. Thankfully, with a little planning your home can become immune to winter’s chilly touch.

So whether you’re hunkering down in front of the fireplace or fleeing in favor for warmer weather, it’s important to know what and what not to do for your home this winter season.

Stay Warm – But Not Too Hot

If you’ve chosen to brave the bitter winter in your own home this season, then a well-heated house is a high priority. However, with half of all home heating equipment fires reported during the winter months, safety is key. First and foremost, it’s recommended that you have your heating equipment and chimneys thoroughly inspected each and every year. It can be easy to overlook that boiler downstairs and dismiss the chimney as an afterthought, but improper heating is not something you can take lightly.

Many people will also invest in space heaters to heat certain pockets of their homes. While these portable devices can provide quick relief when your living room feels more like a tundra, they can also act as fire hazards. Tips for space heater safety include:

  • Keeping space heater at least three feet away from anything flammable
  • Avoiding placing anything on top of, in front, or behind your space heater
  • Always turning it off when leaving the room – even if it’s just for a moment
  • Never plugging into an extension cord

Space heaters cause about 33 percent of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths. Following simple precautionary measures will ensure that you don’t become part of this statistic.

Lastly, you should never use gas or electric stoves/ovens as a source of heat. Steer clear of the kitchen if it’s heat you’re looking for; it’s a recipe for disaster.

Maintenance Inside and Out

Aside from the temperature of your property, you also need to be aware of other ways to keep a safe home this winter. A lot of stress and danger can be avoided by some simple maintenance procedures.

As frozen and burst pipes can be very expensive to fix, they should be addressed ASAP. First, you should make sure to insulate all of your pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces. Then it’s important to disconnect all of your outdoor hoses and turn off the water to exterior faucets. It’s still recommended that you consult a plumber to ensure that everything is up to snuff, but this is a good start.

Home maintenance also extends to the exterior of your property as well. Make sure that your trees are trimmed and dead branches are removed. Harsh winter weather conditions such as snow, ice and wind can cause stray branches and longer limbs to damage your home.

Staying Safe (Even from a Distance)

If you opt to stay as far away from the cold as possible and head for the Hollywood hills or the Miami beaches, it’s still vital that your home is prepared for winter in your absence.

In addition to maintenance and overall safety concerns, your home could be at risk for an greater number of break-ins due to your extended time away. In fact, in 2013, a break-in occurred every 16 seconds – making it necessary to plan accordingly.

First, are you close with your neighbors? If not, start warming up to them ASAP. Having trusted neighbors to help maintain your property offers a huge upper hand against potential intruders. Neighbors can:

  • Pick up any mail and/or packages off the front door step.
  • Shovel your driveway if it snows.