For immediate assistance, call (877) MCELROY.

Safety and savings. Two of our highest priorities.

Keeping your home safe is always our primary concern. Saving you money on your energy bill is right up there, too. So we’ve created the following printable documents to help you eliminate safety hazards during winter and minimize energy costs year-round.

Play it safe this winter.

Most home fires occur during the months of December, January and February, and heating equipment is one of the leading causes. Use these tips to ensure you're well prepared for cold weather emergencies, and that your home is safeguarded against heating hazards.

Heating safety tips

General

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector. Make sure it is marked with the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) safety listing. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for placement in your home.
  • Install smoke alarms that are equipped with a battery back up on every level of your home. Test the alarms monthly and change the batteries annually.
  • Children should not have access to portable heaters, electric or fuel powered.
  • Do not use the oven or stove to heat your home. This can be a fire hazard as well as a source of toxic fumes.
  • Do not burn anything larger than candles inside your home without providing good ventilation such as opening windows, doors and fireplace flumes.
  • All heaters that run on fuel (natural gas, kerosene, butane, oil) should be vented. The only exception to this rule is electric heaters.
  • “Space” heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
  • Always perform a thorough safety inspection of heating sources in your home. Outdated, poorly maintained, misused, or damaged heating equipment can lead to a deadly disaster.

Electric Space Heaters

  • Purchase only heaters with the UL safety listing.
  • Purchase a heater that is equipped with a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over,
  • Never use a heater to dry clothing or any other combustible material.
  • Never use an extension cord with an electric space heater. Plug them directly into the electrical outlet.
  • Always unplug your heater when not in use.
  • Keep all combustible objects including draperies, towels and carpets at least three feet away from the heater.

Kerosene Heather

  • Before purchasing a kerosene heater, check with your local fire department and building inspector to determine if building and fire codes permit its use in residential structures.
  • Check with your insurance carrier to determine if your policy will cover fire damage caused by a kerosene heater.
  • Purchase only UL approved heaters.
  • Kerosene heaters should be used only in a well ventilated room.
  • Use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer, and follow instructions carefully. Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel.
  • Never refill a space heater while it is in operation or is still hot and never refuel it indoors.
  • Never overfill a kerosene heater.
  • Always make sure to properly store extra fuel and never store it near the heater.

Fireplaces

  • Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Check for obstructions and cracks, which will help to prevent deadly chimney and roof fires.
  • Make sure the damper is open before lighting a fire.
  • Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote, a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from wood smoke onto the walls of a chimney, and are difficult to control.
  • Glass doors or a metal screen should be placed in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks or burning logs from leaving the fireplace and causing a home fire.
  • Extinguish the fire completely before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Do not burn charcoal designed for barbecues in your fireplace or wood stove. It releases odorless, but toxic, carbon monoxide fumes and can cause death.

Wood Stoves

  • Make sure it is constructed of solid material, such as plate steel or cast iron.
  • Check legs, hinges, and door seals for smooth joints and seams to make sure there are no cracks.
  • Inspect and clean the pipes and chimney on an annual basis.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood for fuel. Do not use green wood, artificial logs or trash.

When efficiency goes up, costs come down.

Up to 50% of your energy expenses come from heating and cooling your home. Naturally, the surest way to cut costs is to ensure your HVAC system runs as efficiently as possible. Some of these recommendations cost next to nothing, while others are investments you can make now to save significant amounts of money over time.

Energy Saving Tips

  • Insist on an annual furnace safety check and regular maintenance on your air conditioner.
  • Consider upgrading to a more efficient heating and/or air conditioning unit.
  • Combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat setting can reduce your energy bills overall.
  • In the winter, set your thermostat as low as possible and as high as possible during the summer. By maintaining a minimum difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, you’ll lower overall heating and cooling expenses.
  • Clean or replace filters each month.
  • Clean baseboard heaters, warm-air registers and radiators as needed. Make sure they are not being blocked by draperies, carpeting or furniture.
  • During colder months, take advantage of “passive solar” by opening draperies and blinds on the south side of your home. The sun will assist in warming your home – free of charge! Be sure to close them at night to keep heat in. And in warmer months, close all shades and blinds, except on the north side of the house, to decrease the electricity needed to efficiently cool your home.
  • Close any unoccupied rooms that are isolated from the rest of the house and close the vents, if possible.
  • Install a new digital thermostat. This convenient technology eliminates the necessity of remembering to turn down the heat or air conditioning at night or at other times when nobody is home. Just program the thermostat to “set back” at the appropriate times.
  • Using house fans help cool your home by circulating cool air throughout the house. They are most effective when the outside air temperature is cooler than the inside air and when they are operated at night.
  • Shade air conditioning units, yet be sure to not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses up to 10% less electricity than one operating in the sun.
  • Make sure your equipment is properly sized. Bigger is not necessarily better. A larger unit will most likely perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized system.

Your safety is our tops on our list. Contact us if we can answer any questions about heating your home during the winter months, or Schedule Service.

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