Check your furnace. The days will grow colder as the fall season gets underway, and you may eventually end up using your furnace. It would be a good idea to ensure that it is in working order before the cold weather settles in. Change out the filter for a new one, and clean out any dust or debris. Check the furnace for any signs of damage—this includes things like cracks, strange noises, or strange smells.
- Consider having a professional furnace technician inspect your furnace and gas lines (if you have a gas furnace).
- Plan on changing your furnace’s filter every 30 to 90 days. This will help your furnace last longer.
- If you can’t replace your filter right away, clean it with a soft brush and a vacuum.
Make sure that your humidifier is working. A humidifier will not only keep the bone-dry air at bay, but it will also prevent wood from cracking. Check the pads or plates on your humidifier, and clean them using laundry detergent. Scrape off any mineral deposits using steel wool or a wire brush
Ensure that your gas heaters and stoves are working properly. Malfunctioning and poorly-maintained gas equipment can not only be a fire hazard, but they can also release poisonous gases into the air in your home. You should have a professional inspect your gas heaters and stoves. There are also a few things you can do on your own. Start by shutting off the heater or stove completely, then:
- Check the exhaust vents and air-shutter openings for dust.
- Vacuum the exhaust vents and air-shutter openings.
- Clean the burner to ensure that it is dust and lint free.
Ensure that your wood-burning stoves are working properly. Check your stove for any cracks, holes, loose joints, or signs of corrosion. If you spot any damage, hire a professional to repair them. You should also clean the stove, and replace te pipe if necessary. A clean, well-maintained stove will give you a warm, bright fire.
- Make sure that the stove is resting on a heat-safe surface, and that there is nothing flammable close by.
- If you have children or pets, consider fencing the stove off when it is burning.
Do an overall fire-safety check. There is nothing like a warm, cozy fire, a toasty stove, or a fragrant candle on a cold, autumn night. Unfortunately, with all of these warm, cozy comforts comes an increased risk of fire. You should prepare your home and family for the possibility of a fire by doing the following:
- Make sure that there is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home.
- Test if the detectors are working by pressing the test button, and change out the batteries, if needed.
- Have a multi-task fire extinguisher (it should have an A-B-C rating on the label) in an easily-accessible spot. Instruct your family members on how to use the fire extinguisher.
- Check all existing fire extinguishers for damage, including dents, scratches, and corrosion. If the extinguisher is over 6 years old, get a new one.
- Clear spaces around fireplaces, heaters, furnaces, and stoves. You will be using these more often as the weather gets colder, so you won’t want anything flammable close to them.
Educate your family on fire safety, and have an escape plan. Teach your family on what to do in the event of a fire, and agree on a safe meeting place in the event of an emergency. Instruct your family members on how to properly handle stoves, heaters, and fire extinguishers. It would be a good idea to teach them to practice common sense regarding open flames—such as never leaving burning candles, fireplaces, or stoves unattended. Lastly, make sure that all possible escape routes aren’t blocked, including windows.