Keep safe and warm in winter weather

By: Adam Clark, Meteorologist
By: Adam Clark, Meteorologist

October 23, 2006

It's expected to be a cold night, with temperatures expected to drop into the 30's...and maybe even lower tomorrow night.

Are you ready for the cold weather?

12 is On Your Side with what you need to know before you crank up the heater.

More cold temperatures are on the way the next couple of days.

There are ways to keep your family safe as we all turn off the air conditioner and turn on the furnace.

Last night's low was about 44, prompting many of us to turn on the heat. Well, you're going to need the heat for sure the next couple of days with lows dipping into the low to mid 30's.

A lot of people use space heaters to heat an area of their home. Some important tips for these are never to have any bedding, furniture or drapes within three feet of the heater. And you should never leave a space heater unattended. If you go to sleep turn it off.

Many of them come with safety features. We found one that turns off when tipped over. Make sure you read the label before you buy to find out the safety features.

If you have a fireplace, it's important to keep it maintained and clean...because the last thing you want to deal with is a chimney fire.

Keeping your chimney clean is serious business.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimney fires are the number one reason for a structure fire.

That's just one reason to keep it maintained.

"It is law that people have their chimney inspected at least once a year," Daisy Percibal of Lucky Dale Chimney Sweeps told News 12. "The reason being is, the soot that accumulates can be a fire and health hazard."

Daisy says there are things to look out for when it comes to the type of wood to burn.

"Good seasoned hardwood. And to get it good and seasoned I would wait at least six months to a year," she said.

She also says try not to use pine, because of the type of soot it creates along your flue.

It's important that you have your chimney covered as well. Rain determinates the mortar joints in the flue tiles and in your brick, so keep the water out by keeping your chimney capped.

So what should you do if you don't know how long it's been since the last time the chimney was inspected or cleaned?

The best thing to do is to wait to use it until you have it inspected by a licensed chimney sweep.

Another problem posed by a fireplace is having it maintained. Daisy said having your chimney and flue properly maintained is just as important as keeping it clean.

"Whenever there is missing mortar, you're allowing fire to get through the holes and catch the wood on fire," she said.

What if you have a gas log fireplace?

This poses a carbon monoxide danger. It only takes 45 minutes of exposure to kill you. People that suffer carbon monoxide poisoning have flu-like symptoms. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, get a carbon monoxide detector. They're not expensive and are easy to install.

Here are some links with more ways to get ready for winter weather:

As you're getting ready for the colder weather, we also want to remind you that this Sunday, the time goes back one hour. At 2 a.m., it'll be 1 a.m.

It's also a good time to change the battery in your smoke detector.


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