(KFVS) - If you haven't already, soon you may be turning on the furnace or lighting the fireplace.
However you're heating your home, it's important to make sure you're doing it safely.
Menards offered the following tips for changing a furnace filter:
- During colder periods of time when you are inside more often, it's especially important to inspect and change your furnace filters every few weeks.
- As your filter collects dust, pet dander, pollen, etc, it starts to get clogged. Over time, the clog can build up and make it much more difficult for air to pass through. This causes the blower to work harder to force warm air into your home, increasing your energy bill and eventually causing the blower motor to overheat and burn out.
- The reduced air flow also means it will take longer to heat your home. If the filters get too clogged and the airflow is bad, there's a chance many rooms further away from the HVAC system won't get any warm air at all. This could mean higher heating costs to you.
- If you don't replace your filter often enough, anyone living in your home with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems may find their symptoms aggravated when the air is not effectively cleansed.
- Changing your furnace filters regularly is the best thing you can do to ensure proper furnace operations all winter long. Filters work to clean debris and dust from the air, resulting in better indoor air quality.
- Write the date on the filter when you install it so you can easily do an inspection in the weeks ahead.
The Missouri Insurance Information Service offered the following tips for fireplaces and wood stoves.
- A good-quality metal screen should be kept closed in front of the fireplace whenever it is being used. At least a 3-foot area in front of and to the sides of the fireplace should be clean of anything that burns, including carpeting, paper, rags, furniture, clothing, logs and kindling.
- Do not refresh a fire with gasoline, kerosene, naphtha or any other flammable or combustible liquid. This can cause a bigger fire than you want and even an explosion
- Never burn charcoal in a fireplace. Charcoal gives off deadly carbon monoxide gas, which can quickly fill a room and overcome the occupants.
- Inspect your fireplace and chimney regularly, at least once a year. Keep the fireplace and chimney in good repair and clean of tars and creosote. The older the fireplace, the greater the need for maintenance.
- Keep the damper adjusted for sufficient draft to remove all smoke and gases, taking care to maintain proper control of the fire.
- After a fire, be careful of how you dispose of ashes and embers. Use only a metal container for their disposal, and do not dispose of them around combustible and flammable materials. Apartment dwellers should never dispose of fireplace ash in dumpsters.
- Before buying a wood stove, make sure it has been approved by a recognized testing laboratory
- This unit must be set on a nonflammable base large enough so that coals or sparks cannot spill on a flammable floor surface
- Flammable walls or ceilings must be protected by maintaining adequate distances from the stove or pipes, or by a heat shield
- Never overfill or overfire the wood stove. Continued overfiring can crack and even a solid masonry chimney and se fire to the house.
- Do not burn trash in wood stoves. This can overheat the stove
- If you are unfortunate enough to have a flue fire, a 25-pound dry chemical fire extinguisher should be aimed into the firebox. Never put water on the outside of a red-hot stove