Here at Lofty, we want to see people be warm and safe over the holidays, perhaps curled up by the fireplace or sipping hot cocoa. It can be easy to get distracted with the all the holiday excitement going on, but there some things you pay attention to, in order to avoid an unfortunate incident over the holidays. For example, did you realize a best practice is to keep flammable material at least three feet away from any heat source (i.e. furnace, space heater, fireplace) and Christmas trees with lights? Did you know the curtains are commonly overlooked as flammable material?.Here are a few key tips to staying warm and safe over the holidays.
Doors and Windows
We have already gotten a taste of the Chicago cold and as Chicagoans, we know it is about to become really cold. Chicago winters can bring ice, snow, and below zero temperatures. The easiest way to keep the home insulated is by closing windows and doors, securely. You may want to consider putting plastic on the windows and making sure you have a draft guard on the door to keep warm air in and cold air out.
Past winters have brought on extreme low temperatures. A reputable property management company will be able to assist with a checklist of “winter proofing” tasks for your home. The name of the game is minimizing emergencies during this frigid season. For example, conduct a furnace maintenance inspection to keep the furnace working properly. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the furnace, as well as, keep a “kid free zone” around the furnace avoid any unnecessary accidents. Also, test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work. To see more tips, check out Lofty’s blog on Winterizing Your Home.
Electric space heaters need to be plugged into a wall socket, not an extension cord. Most extension cords can’t handle the extra wattage a space heater needs, so take an extra precaution and check to make sure the space heater is properly rated and grounded.
Home is where the hearth is / The hearth / Fireplace safety tips
We have yet to meet someone who did not enjoy the warmth and coziness of a fire in the fireplace. The fireplace, to be working properly and safely, should be properly maintained. Read more fire safety tips.
Tips to warm your home and enjoy the holidays with a fire is:
- Have proper fireplace tools on hand, like a pick, brush and a shovel. The pick will help position the wood around the hearth while the brush and shovel will help make cleaning up the leftover ash quick. Do not have the tools on hand? It might be worth contacting your property management company (or landlord) to see if they can supply those and instructions on how to use.
- New, dry wood is the best food for the fire and will keep the warmth for a cozy evening at home.
- A fireplace screen will be helpful to keep the sparks in the fireplace and not on the carpet, rug, floor or a person.
A fireplace, under the proper supervision is a comfy, memory making staple during the holidays. Remember to never leave a fire burning unattended. A fire in the fireplace is not an intentional, constant, source of heat for the whole home (nor is an oven!), but rather something to look forward to on a cold day, after a long commute, or just an excuse to curl under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.
For the snow bunnies who escape the Chicago cold for warmer weather, it is important to care for the home while away. Whether it is for a short weekend getaway or for the entire winter season. If your home or rental will be unoccupied for more than a day, it is recommended to turn your heat down…not off. An ideal temperature is 66 degrees, per the Chicago Building Ordinance. Low heat, or even heat that has been turned off, runs the risk of pipes freezing and bursting. Another tip if planning on leaving is setting various lights on timers. This will give the illusion that your home is still occupied while you are away to discourage intruders.
If you choose to celebrate the holiday with a live tree, be sure it stays fresh and keep it watered. For if it dries out, it can become a fire hazard. Keep the trees away from hot lights and open flames. Artificial trees are a lot safer especially with modern LED lights that run cooler, but they sure do not give off that pine fresh scent!
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