Weatherization Tips of the Month for December

Safety

Invest in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
Install smoke detectors on every level of your house and outside each sleeping area.  Replace the batteries twice a year (unless you have a new model with a 10-year battery).  Carbon monoxide alarms notify you when a defective heater that burns natural gas, oil, propane, wood, or kerosene is emitting this odorless gas into your home.  (Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, irregular breathing, and confusion. If you think you have the flu but get better when you leave the house, carbon monoxide may be the cause.)

Have your home tested for radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas that in high concentrations can lead to lung cancer.  It exists naturally in the soil and can enter your home through basement cracks, joints, and gaps.  If radon levels in your home are high, you’ll need to install a radon-reduction system.

Use caution when handling appliances and electrical equipment.
Never insert metal objects into appliances – e.g., a knife into a toaster-and always unplug appliances before handling them.  Never touch appliances, wires, or electrical switches with wet hands.

Check wires for signs of wear.
Replace them if they are cracked or frayed.  Prevent damage by never pulling plugs out by the cord.

Don’t overload outlets by plugging too many devices into one outlet.
 

Clear the area around your heating system.
The system needs air to burn fuel.  Never store combustibles near a furnace.  And make sure your heating system is properly vented to the outside to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide indoors.

Keep everyone away from downed wires.
Call 911 if there is a fallen power line near your home.

Never leave an engine running in an attached garage.
This includes snow blowers, lawn mowers, cars, or anything else with an internal combustion engine.  Don’t even do it if the garage door is open.

Use plastic safety caps in electrical outlets.
It’s especially important when small children live in your home.