Checking and unclogging your exterior vents during the cold weather could save your life.
With the recent cold snap, it is a good practice to walk around your house and check on the exterior vents for dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, which if clogged could cause problems or even death.
Kirk Hughes is the Director of Protective Services in the County of Vermilion River.
“Remove the build-up of ice and snow as if they block up they could pour poisonous carbon monoxide into a home without any notice,” Chief Hughes told Lakeland Connect. “On that topic, it’s never a bad time to check on the carbon monoxide detectors in the house – to make sure they are still functioning.”
As for the furnace, Chief Hughes says replacing the air filter goes a long way to making sure it is efficient and running at optimal condition.
Ensure items are not stored against it and it’s never a bad idea to locate the emergency shut-off switch, just in case.
“Personally, I have a fire extinguisher in my furnace room as an added precaution,” Chief Hughes said.
Not only should you check all vents for the furnace but you should also check your dryer vents.
“A good tip is to remove the dryer lint after each use and make sure that the vent outside isn’t clogged up with moist lint that freezes into a sort of solid material,” Chief Hughes told Lakeland Connect. “Dryer fires are not uncommon and very preventable.”
With the latest snow event, folks should be watching that the snow doesn’t cover or cake off on their furnace vents or chimneys, as well as sewer vent stacks, says Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney from the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA).
With the extreme cold, people often try to find alternate sources of heat to help keep their homes warm.
“Only use listed/rated space heaters that are in good repair, and preferably ones that have an automatic tip-over shut off built into them,” Regional Fire Chief Heney said.
Never use any type of combustion device for heat unless it is installed and vented by a professional.
“Although it is pretty common, using an electric oven with the door open isn’t recommended due to the increased potential for burns,” Regional Fire Chief Heney concluded.