HOME SAFETY TIPS FOR THE WINTER
This week on the morning show we had a chance to talk to Great Falls Fire and Rescue Chief Jeremy Jones about getting your home ready for the winter and keeping safe. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Randy: Temperatures are getting colder. We're two days away from the start of fall, officially Thursday, and I don't think it will be long before snow. So people are starting to switch over their furnaces. What are some of the things that people have to be thinking about is they're switching from air conditioning to furnace.
Chief: Yeah. So making sure our filtration system, it's a good time to change that. We always recommend having a professional come in and doing a system check on your furnace or whatever type of heating device you have. A lot of the furnaces, they can get micro cracks in there. The name is not coming to me, but in the heating manifold. But they actually have a name for it so you don't get complete combustion. And that could lead to co-development because you're not burning at the efficient rate. So making sure that your exhaust systems are drafting correctly. So you're not filling your crawl space or your basement or wherever your elements might be with seal. Just a good piece of advice to get that all done. Making sure you start to weather as all your winter bibs. So you don't have any pipe freezers or frozen pipes and water leaks and things of that nature. But yeah, definitely you don't want to be doing it when it's already cold outside, but that's when I usually do it. It's summer in January. When it's below, it's like Christmas Eve. Yeah, Christmas Eve. I better get the lights up on the roof full of snow. Just some safety precautions. Just start to get ready. We're not there yet. Hopefully we'll have a nice cool, wet, extended fall, but definitely easier to do it this time of year.
Pat: I had to run the heat one time so far this fall or just late this summer.
Randy: Of course, with kids and different things. I know at my house we have a lot of those little plug in electric heaters. So I have that one extension cord to run through the house and I have several different deals that come off that one old freight extension cord. Is that the best way to run those electric heaters?
Chief: Yeah. And we like to come see you weekly, Randy. Daily. Tagging my house. Yeah, yeah. No. So you definitely don't want to run anything permanently off an extension cord. If it's something where you're going to need power there it is better to have it professionally installed by a certified electrician just because they can write the amps and your circuit breaker and everything so it functions properly. A lot of times, like we say, plug your space heaters. If you use them temporarily, plug your space heaters directly into the wall.
Randy: Not into a surge protector. Not even a surge protector?
Chief: No, because they sometimes draw below. So surge protectors for spikes in volts or amps. I forget which one it is. You can actually have a meltdown. In fact, it happened in my house. The neutral broke off my power pole. We didn't know it and we kept having a little flicker in the house. We couldn't find it. Checked everything, had power come out, couldn't find it. Finally what it did is it actually melted down our search protector in our office. Yikes. Yes, completely melted.
Pat: Which is probably down underneath a desk or something?
Chief: Yeah, but you could smell the electrical and what it is, is those are rated for spikes, not for low voltage. And low voltage is what actually fries a lot of what you really messes with your appliances. So it screwed up our well pump. We lost a washing machine. We lost two other things in our house.
Pat: TV, maybe?
Chief: No, it was actually we don't but Northwest Energy was cool and covered it and everything. But yeah, it's their responsibility. Well, because it was between the breaker box and the inlet. Got you. That's kind of the defined. From the breaker box into your house is yours. From the breaker box to the system is theirs. Anyway, we got a really good guy, Cody Urik. He might be listening. Don't drive off the road. Cody. He came out and found it in the middle of the night.