The cold weather has bitten us a little late this year in East Tennessee.  But fear not, it is here.  There are a number of ways and steps to take to prepare and ensure that your home is ready for the cold winter months.  Tennessee Fire Marshall Julie Mix McPeak urges residents to be cautious in the use of alternate heat sources.  Fire is a risk for some residents that try to heat their homes with unconventional and even dangerous ways. 

Space Heater SafetyThis is a time of year when we love to start using the fireplace.  In preparation for using these fireplaces it is a good idea to have your chimney professionally cleaned to prevent the buildup of combustible materials. 

Space heaters are also another great method when used correctly.  The term "Space Heater" means that it needs open space.  Refer to the manufacturers suggested distances but a good rule of thumb is to have at least 3-4 feet of open area around the space heater.  You should also keep any/all combustible materials away from these heaters.  And always, never leave you space heater or fire unattended.

A Few Tips To Keep Your House Warm

1) Check for drafts around your doors and windows.  These openings will allow for cold air to enter your home or even worse, your hot air to exit.  The weather stripping and seals should be inspected and replaced if needed to prevent these drafts.

2) This is the time of the year when we reverse the direction of our ceiling fans.  Switching your fan to the clockwise direction will help pull all that hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the living spaces.

3) Use the oven.  Once you are finished cooking and you turn the oven off, crack the door open.  No sense in wasting all that heat that you already paid for.  Use it!

Insulate Your Home4) Have you even looked at the insulation in your attic since you bought your house? Go look right now.  If you do not have at least 10 inches of insulation up there then you need to add some.  It is best to use at least R20, R30 would be best.

5) Get a good digital thermostat.  A good programmable thermostat can be used to adjust the temperature down (cooler) during the night.  Most people will not even feel the difference in temp and can save an average of 10%-15% on heating bills by lowering the temp for the 8 hours at night.

For more ways on keeping your home heated and warm this winter visit your power companies website or pick up the phone and call them.