Be­ware fire haz­ards this win­ter

Lesotho Times - - Property -

WITH June be­ing one of the cold­est of months of the year, there are a few fac­tors home­own­ers should take into con­sid­er­a­tion. These tips may be ones that you have heard be­fore, but be­cause the win­ter is only two-to-three months long (May, June, July), ev­ery­body al­ways for­gets what they did last win­ter and be­lieves that this year is colder than the last.

There are al­ways count­less sto­ries of houses be­ing burnt down in the win­ter. This can be avoided if the fol­low­ing fac­tors are taken into ac­count:

pulling out the same old heater from last year’s win­ter, just blow­ing off the dust and plug­ging it in. It is im­por­tant to ex­am­ine your heater be­fore use for any wear and tear, es­pe­cially around the plug and wires. Af­ter win­ter you should keep it cov­ered and stored in a safe place.

not leave a child unat­tended next to a fire place. Fire in­trigues chil­dren which can lead to play­ing with it and ac­ci­dently set­ting some­thing alight.

smoke de­tec­tors. They are not ex­pen­sive and only re­quire a bat­tery change once a year, which is a small price to pay for an early warn­ing sys­tem. While you are buy­ing a smoke de­tec­tor, get a fire ex­tin­guisher too.

wear­ing baggy clothes while cook­ing and around heaters, can­dles and open fires.

Never smoke in bed and en­sure that all cig­a­rettes and can­dles are ex­tin­guished be­fore re­tir­ing for the night.

In case of a fire, have a plan. Make sure you have more than one es­cape route should your route be­come blocked.

If you have gas, oil or coal-burn­ing ap­pli­ances be aware of car­bon monox­ide. En­sure your home is prop­erly ven­ti­lated and equip­ment is reg­u­larly ser­viced and main­tained.

Turn off portable heaters, as well as gas and elec­tric fires be­fore go­ing to bed.

If you have an open fire make sure the fire guard is se­cure and in place.

Keep heaters away from fur­ni­ture and cur­tains.

Use your com­mon sense. You can de­crease the de­mand for elec­tric­ity by do­ing the fol­low­ing:

Use blan­kets and wear warm clothes around the home, es­pe­cially at night, in or­der to keep the heaters off.

If your home has large glass win­dows and doors, try cov­er­ing them up with cur­tains to re­tain the heat in doors and keep the cold out­doors. The same ap­plies for tiled floors- rugs and mats act as an in­su­la­tor and keep your home warmer.

If a heater is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, get a gas heater, this will en­sure you stay off the grid and do not use more elec­tric­ity than is avail­able.

Us­ing a pres­sure cooker for food that will take a long time to pre­pare.

Re­duc­ing to the short­est pos­si­ble time the pe­ri­ods in which you leave re­frig­er­a­tor and stove doors open. In ad­di­tion, it is im­por­tant to make sure that these are not placed in hot ar­eas, e.g. near heaters or in strong sun­light.

Set­ting the re­frig­er­a­tor two de­grees C higher, say at 3°C. De­frost­ing the re­frig­er­a­tor at least twice per an­num and as a corollary to this de­frost­ing food nat­u­rally not by means of a mi­crowave oven or stove.

Re­frain­ing from over­load­ing the re­frig­er­a­tor. This will al­ways cause en­ergy costs to rise ex­po­nen­tially. Also again the door seals should be checked and re­placed if they are not ef­fi­cient.

Us­ing low en­ergy LED lights. Light­ing in the home is re­spon­si­ble for only 6% of en­ergy charges, but even here se­ri­ous sav­ings can be made.

Us­ing a pres­sure cooker for food that will take a long time to pre­pare.

As far as in­creased com­fort, cost and power us­age goes, the most ef­fec­tive heat­ing op­tion are in­frared heaters like those of­ten used in restau­rants. These heaters are the most en­ergy ef­fec­tive be­cause they heat up ob­jects and not the air.

Oil heaters are most ef­fec­tive in con­tained spa­ces such as a sin­gle room. Open plan liv­ing ar­eas are sim­ply too big for an oil heater to make a real im­pact.

They also take longer and a fair amount of en­ergy to heat up. Fan heaters pro­vide heat and com­fort im­me­di­ately and they can be di­rected to wher­ever the hot air is needed most.

Most fan heaters now also come with a small con­tainer which can be filled with wa­ter to pre­vent the air in the room from dry­ing out.

In­su­la­tion is the sin­gle most im­por­tant fac­tor when it comes to heat­ing a home. An in­su­lated room re­quires 51 per­cent less en­ergy than an un-in­su­lated room. In­su­lat­ing your home’s ceil­ing is the sim­plest and most ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent the warm air gen­er­ated by heaters from es­cap­ing.

Take these tips and make your home as safe and com­fort­able as pos­si­ble for the win­ter sea­son.

— Camis­sa­homes

only heat the rooms that you and your fam­ily are go­ing to spend time in.

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