We’ve been experiencing below-average temperatures in West Texas. No doubt our home heating systems have been working a little more than normal.

We want to be warm. We also need to be safe. When the weather gets cold it’s always very sad to hear news of home fires caused by unsafe practices. Here’s some tips from your friends at Sinclair to help you stay safe as you stay warm.

* If you have a fireplace, make sure the chimney is clean. Over time, residue from the burning wood (creosote) can accumulate inside the chimney. This can cause a fire. If you use your fireplace regularly it’s wise to have it professionally cleaned once a year.

* Don’t leave portable space heaters unattended.

* Don’t use your oven to heat your home. It’s tempting but it’s not safe. Ovens are designed for cooking, not heating a room.

It’s wise to keep a 3 foot buffer zone around any heating devices. Portable heaters, your furnace, wood stoves, etc. Anything that can possibly overheat and potentially ignite should be kept clear.

* Under no circumstance should you ever use a charcoal grill to generate heat inside your home. This should be a no-brainer yet every year we read of fires caused by outdoor equipment being used indoors.

* Make sure all heat vents are unobstructed. You want your warm air to flow freely to efficiently heat your home. If you have long curtains over a floor vent, your warm air could be trapped between the curtain and the wall instead of heating your room.

* Be sure your fireplace has a metal screen. You want to prevent any sparks from popping out and potentially igniting the carpet or other flammable materials.

* Test your smoke alarms. It takes just a second to push the button to be sure they are working. If you can’t remember when you put fresh batteries in, then it’s time to change them out!

* Have your heating system professionally checked once a year. An annual inspection and tune up of your heating system insures you’re operating at peak efficiency, saving you money on your home energy costs.

Your friends at Sinclair want you to stay warm and safe this winter. Call us anytime and we’ll be there to serve you! 806-749-2665

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