There is a chill in the air

This blast of cooler fall temperatures signals us that summer is a memory and winter is on its way. I wonder if this year’s winter will be considered a true winter, unlike the blessing that we received last winter. With colder temperatures coming, there are some preparatory steps that we need to take. I will list some of the things that we need to do, just to get you thinking:

  • Have you changed the filters on your heating system recently?
  • Have you attempted to turn on your heat to see if it works?
  • Does your heat pump or furnace need to be serviced?
  • Are your space heaters operationally sound?
  • If you use gas logs or a gas fireplace, was it burning clean at the end of last year? In conjunction with this, do you have a functional carbon monoxide detector?
  • If you use a woodstove as a primary heating system, have you had your chimney cleaned and inspected?
  • What is your back up to your primary heating system? Is it functional?
  • Have you checked your smoke alarms recently? If not, check them now!

These are just a few of the many things that you will need to take care of before colder temperatures arrive. I used to call winter fire season, but fires have been as prevalent on the warmer days. Fires will come as a result of heating system malfunctions. Winter puts a strain on many things. Checking things out now will prevent potential misery later.

I mentioned carbon monoxide detectors in my list of questions. Remember, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas. Your body has a 200 time greater affinity for CO than it does oxygen. In other words, if CO is present, then your body will suck it up. CO poisoning kills or injures many people every year. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and possibly vomiting
  • Reddened skin
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

If you have not been feeling well for a period of time, it could be related to CO poisoning. Keep in mind that CO poisoning can occur cumulatively or acutely, depending on the dose and time of exposure. A tip to remember- Do not warm up your car in your garage, whether attached to your house or not.

The more that you do to prepare for winter’s imminent arrival, the better you will survive this winter. This winter may be as warm as last year’s, but I would not bank on it.

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