Ok, so Perth’s definition of winter could be different to some other states or countries around the world but never the less, there are some important things that need to be done around the home this time of year. These little jobs might seem unnecessary but they will help to ensure your place is not only safe, but cosy and warm for the whole family to enjoy over the cooler winter months.
Winter is definitely on its way, and with plunging temperatures comes shorter days that just make you want to relax in your warm home. To prepare for this, it is time to get your home winterized! There is nothing worse than battling the cool winds and rain in early June doing jobs you could have finished in the previous months. So, it is time to get organised!
Prepare your heat source
Whether you will be using a proper fireplace, gas or electric heater, keeping your house warm in winter is essential. If you have a fireplace, grab a torch and look inside for potential build up, bird’s nests or obvious cracks. If all looks good, clean out the ashes but keep in mind that you should probably have your chimney professionally cleaned every other year just to make sure everything is in working order. Remember to stock up on wood and kindling too, and then you’re ready for a cosy season by the fire!
If you have an electric or gas heater, ensure it is safe to use. Always check your heater is working correctly and service it using a licensed gas fitter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep an eye out for difficulty lighting it, yellow flames, unusual smells or noisy fans as these are signs that something may be wrong with your heater.
Clear out the gutters
Can you remember the last time you cleared out your gutters? With winter nearing, most gutters are filled with autumn’s leaves, so it might be time to get up that ladder and clear those gutters out. A build-up of untamed plant debris can produce a fire hazard, and also stops rain water from draining away properly after a downpour, leading to foundation damage to your home.
Prepare for a winter storm
Now, they might be more of a rarity in Perth, but the past couple of years have shown we aren’t immune to a bad storm every once and a while. To ensure you are prepared, always have a fully-stocked emergency kit on hand just in case the event arises. Pack batteries, a torch, candles, matches and a lighter, warm clothes, blankets, a battery powered radio, non-perishable food items, water, and a first aid kit. Be sure to include adequate amounts for every member of your family.
Even with a heat source, there could still be a slight chill in the air around your home. The key is to insulate. Is your couch or dining table next to a large window? If so, consider investing in some insulated window treatments to help heat up the area. Long, heavy curtains are a great way to stop the heat escaping through windows (not to mention they will help to keep the heat out come summer time!)
Keeping safe and warm this winter can introduce a bundle of possible indoor threats. Winter products such as hot water bottles, electric blankets, candles and heaters can cause injuries such as burns.
Other winter risks come from faulty electrical products which can overheat, give you an electric shock and could potentially cause a fire, posing risk to your home’s safety if left unattended. Here are some pointers which should help keep your home safe from possible fire threat this winter.
- Have a written home fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
- Install smoke alarms throughout your home and test them monthly. Change the batteries every year, perhaps on a memorable date such as a birthday, anniversary or New Year’s Day, for example.
- Where possible, make sure you and your family know more than one safe way out of every room in your home.
- Keep curtains, tablecloths and bedding away from portable heaters.
- Keep wet clothes at least one metre from heaters or fireplaces, and never place clothes or towels on your heater.
- Clean the lint filter every time you use a clothes dryer. Because lint that has built up can catch fire.
- Never use your gas oven or stove as a room heater.
- Use just one appliance per power point and switch them off when you’re not using them. Heaters consume a lot of power and may overload the supply which can cause a fire.
- Never leave burning candles or any open flame unattended.
- Store matches and lighters in a safe place out of reach of young children.
- Always keep children away from open heat sources such as fireplaces and gas stoves, and remember that even clothing with a ‘low fire danger’ label can still catch on fire.
- Make sure children know that if their clothes catch on fire, they mustn’t run away – this only makes the fire burn hotter and faster. Instead, tell them to:
- STOP immediately where they are
- DROP quickly to ground and cover their face with their hands
- ROLL over and over to put out the flames.