Even though it is almost spring here in northern Indiana, we aren't quite finished with the cold weather. Temperatures this time of year usually only range between the upper 20s and mid-40s. That leaves plenty of room for freezes to occur, and most of us will still use the heating system in our homes.
Still, if you plan to turn on the heat in a rental property, you should do so responsibly. What are some of the ways you can make your heat usage safe this year?
Risks Of Heating A Home
Everyone has a right to a warm home. Most of us can light furnaces, set up fireplaces, or turn on the heater without posing a big safety risk to the home. Nevertheless, the fact remains that safety risks will exist. Heat can cause problems if you don't manage its usage correctly. Some of these might include:
- Fire and scorch risks from furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters and electric blankets
- Carbon monoxide poisoning risks, if the heater burns certain fuels
- Overburdened or damaged electrical systems and utilities
- Explosion risks from heat-generating boilers
If such an accident occurs in your rental home, you could lose your own possessions. The incident might even be deemed your fault. If it is, you might have to pay for the damage.
Still, if you have renters insurance, you might have recourse for such damage. Most policies contain possessions insurance for belongings damaged in the home. The policy will also contain liability coverage. This element will help you pay for the damage if the accident was determined to be your fault.
Taking Precautions When Using Home Heating
When it's time to turn on your heat, remember think safety first. The following simple steps usually take very little action. Still, they can prove instrumental in protecting the home.
- If using the fireplace, open the flue to let smoke out of the chimney. Also keep a fire screen in front of the fireplace. It will help prevent sparks and flames from leaping into the home. Keep your fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
- Keep a carbon monoxide monitor in the home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. The alarm might be the only alert you have of a buildup of poisonous gas.
- Do not place flammable materials near the heater. Also refrain from putting these materials over floor vents or near open flames.
- Be extra careful with space heaters and window heaters. These devices pose significant fire risks. Use these items appropriately. And again, avoid placing flammable items near them.
If you notice power surges, smell gas or see smoke or flames coming from the heater, shut the system down. If necessary, call the police or fire department. Then, let the landlord know about the problem. Should the home sustain damage, work with your TCU Insurance agent to determine if you need to file a claim.