If it seems like winters are getting colder these past few years, it’s because, to a certain extent, they are. This is due to a phenomenon known as the polar vortex.
The polar vortex is the zone of cold air that usually surrounds the north pole. Unfortunately, climate change has weakened the vortex, and parts of it have come off and descended southward.
Thus, winters in the northern US are colder than winters elsewhere. This also means that winter heating is more of a hassle these days.
Part of the issue is staying safe while keeping your home warm. We’ll offer some tips in the paragraphs below.
1. Check Your Furnace
Being the main heating component in your home, the furnace is quite an important piece of equipment. It’s also one of the most common causes of house fires.
The good news is that most potential furnace issue can be prevented with proper maintenance. Having the furnace cleaned and inspected yearly will help you find problems and fix them before they become serious.
Prevention of other issues mostly boils down to common sense. For instance, don’t put anything flammable within a few feet of the furnace, and don’t let children, animals, or anyone for whom it might be a safety hazard near the furnace.
Also, don’t heat your home with anything that wasn’t designed to do so, and don’t get anywhere near the furnace if you smell gas. Gas is highly flammable, and can turn a small gas leak into a big housefire. Leave the house and call 911.
2. Check Your Smoke Alarms
We’ve been hearing since grade school that it’s important to check smoke alarms with some regularity. Smoke detectors work in a few different ways.
One type, known as a photoelectric detector, uses a light to find smoke. The smoke will interact with the beam, causing a disruption in the light’s pattern. This will cause the alarm to go off.
The other type is known as an ionization detector. These contain a small amount of americium, which is a radioactive element.
Radioactivity knocks electrons off atoms, creating ions. These ions and their missing electrons are attracted to two different plates in the machine with different electrical charges.
Smoke fuses with the ions and disrupts their charge, which sets off the detector.
3. Avoid Space Heaters
Ultimately, we would advise against using space heaters as a form of winter heating. They’re quite volatile and can be very dangerous if misused.
However, if you insist on using a space heater, there are a few rules to follow. Much like a furnace, you should keep it about a meter away from anything flammable. You should also keep kids and pets away from it.
Unlike a furnace, space heaters are hooked up to an outlet. As they generate heat, they heat up themselves, so touching them can cause injury. Lastly, unplug them when you’re not using them, and don’t leave them unattended.
Winter Heating and Safety in Florida
Staying warm in the winter can be a hassle, and a dangerous one at that. That’s why we’ve offered some safety tips to help you stay warm in the Florida winter.
If you want more information and advice on heating and cooling systems, or need one repaired, please visit our site. We encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have.