Home security must-haves for a safe winter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Home security must-haves for a safe winter

Content provided by Security Choice

(ARA) - With winter weather in full force, millions of Americans are cranking up the heater and throwing logs on the fire. But with all that heat comes an increased fire risk.

January is the peak month for residential fires, and heating is the leading cause of winter house fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Other major winter risks include freezing pipes and home break-ins. So as you warm your house up, learn about the season's home security and safety must-haves.

Winter must-have No. 1
From the fireplace to the Christmas tree, the living room is likely the most popular room in your house during winter months. It also poses some of the biggest fire threats. Move any flammable items at least 3 feet away from the fireplace - this includes any decor sitting on the mantle.

It's also important to schedule a chimney inspection early in the season if you have a wood-burning fireplace. Chimney fires can be caused by an obstruction such as a bird's nest or the build up of creosote, a wood preservative. Also make sure you use a fireproof screen for your fireplace. Keep a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink or in a nearby area in case flames get out of control.

Winter must-have No. 2
A monitored home security system alarm is a must for winter. Shorter days mean it gets dark early, and a dark household is ideal for burglars. Installing a monitored home alarm will give your home security and protection 24/7. Whether you're on vacation or at work, you can rest easy knowing someone is watching over your belongings.

Another huge benefit of installing a home alarm system this winter is carbon monoxide and fire monitoring. As you turn up the heater and start the fire, there's an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and dangerous flames. Many of today's home alarms come with these monitoring add-ons.

Winter must-have No. 3

It may seem like an overwhelming task, but a safety checklist is essential for winter. Start with the basics like changing the batteries in all your flashlights and picking up extra non-perishable food items in case your home loses power. Be sure to have a shovel and window scraper on hand for your driveway and car.

Move on to the big to-dos next. They include changing the batteries in your home's smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a must. If you're concerned with pipes freezing, insulate pipes in vulnerable areas such as crawl spaces and the attic. They are the most likely to freeze. Letting warm water drip from your home's faucets is another great way to prevent pipes from freezing. In an effort to reduce water waste, only do this with unprotected pipes and make sure the drip is minimal.

As you and your family try to stay warm this winter, be sure to do it safely. Enjoy your time together at home and remember to put home security and safety first.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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