I'm sure by now no one has missed the significant drop in temperatures we're experiencing here in the River Valley area. Our neighbors to the north even saw a beautiful snowfall, although the ground is still too warm for it to hang around very long.
It's not often we see snow in the first half of November. In fact, the last couple of winters have kind of been a dud for those of you enjoy the frosty cold mornings and several inches of snow on the ground. We are in a unique location for swings in climate due to the terrain of northwestern Arkansas. That old saying "If you don't like the weather, just wait a day or two, it'll change!" is certainly true for us.
One of the things that come along with the colder temperatures is the use of supplemental or alternative heating devices. Space heaters, whether electric, propane, or gas, are in service to help knock off the chill or even heat an entire living space. Fireplaces are also being "fired up" to help keep that central heat from working so hard as the winter season comes knocking at our doors.
Alternative heating can be a blessing when used appropriately and safely. Air Care Systems by Price, Inc. is never against your attempts to be comfortable, we just want you to do it safely, so we're offering a few safety tips for our friends and neighbors before the holidays and the really cold weather arrives.
According to an article in Consumer Reports by Mary H.J. Farrell, last updated: October 15, 2017, "Space heaters don’t do well in saving you money. Most models are unlikely to produce the cost savings that some manufacturers claim. In fact, they’re less efficient than central heating systems, so although they’re small, they can leave you with a big utility bill if not used wisely. So think twice about turning down your thermostat and using a space heater to strategically warm areas. You may see modest savings by supplementing the heat in just one room and keeping the others cooler, but that may be impractical.
Safety is another consideration. It’s safest to keep space heaters on the floor, rather than put them on a table. That means a remote control can come in handy, especially if the knobs and dials are on the bottom of the unit (less stooping over and squinting at the settings). Noise is also a consideration and can be annoying if you’re running the heater while trying to watch TV."
Also, PLEASE be careful when using electric heaters where and how you plug them in. Some of them can overheat extension cords, creating a fire hazard, and NEVER run a cord underneath a rug. That's just tempting fate.
This Old House posts the following tips on fireplace safety...
Fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42 percent of all home-heating fires. So first make sure you know how to use your fireplace by following these seven safety tips.
1. Hire a chimney sweep. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. Find a certified sweep in your area via the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
2. Check for damage. In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.
3. Cap the chimney. A cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that's missing or damaged.
4. Burn seasoned hardwoods. Choose dense wood, such as oak, that's been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.
5. Don't overload. Small fires generate less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. Also, a fire that's too large or too hot can crack the chimney.
6. Build it right. Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.
7. Use a spark guard. Prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied.
The folks at Consumer Reports and This Old House have decades of building and safety know-how and are trusted by countless Americans when it comes to knowing what works and how to use those devices that are supposed to aid in our comfort.
We hope these tips are helpful to you and your family. Of course, Air Care Systems by Price, Inc. always hopes to be your first call when it comes to heating and cooling your home or business. We work hard throughout the year to provide the best in customer service, products, and information. Don't forget our number! You can reach us 24/7 at (479) 777-2331.