In the past few weeks i have seen numerous fires as the result of creosote buildup in the chimney of their wood burning stove or fireplace and due to very DANGEROUS methods to thaw pipes. Every time i hear about these events it makes me so sad. I think this is preventable. So here is some hopefully helpful information to prevent you loosing your home and all of your belongings and perhaps save lives!
1) If you have a wood burning appliance (wood stove or fireplace, etc). Please, have the chimney cleaned regularly! How regularly depends on how often you use it. In CNY that has probably been often for the past few weeks!! The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary". If you haven't had your chimney cleaned lately please find a temporary alternate heating source, call an insured professional and get that done!
2) If you have frozen pipes.Please DO NOT use an open flame to thaw them. Use a hair dryer, wrap blankets around them, heat tape, a heat gun, etc. NEVER use a blow torch or any other equipment that has an open flame. If you are a victim of repeative frozen pipes then you should invest in some heat tape to wrap around the pipes and leave it there. You can also leave cabinet doors open inside the home to allow the warmer air to get in there. In addition, it is recommended to leave the faucets on at a slow drip.
3) If you have trouble keeping heat inside your home, it isn't very pretty, but cover your interior or exterior of the windows with plastic. You don't need the very expensive window kits. You can get away with a roll of plastic and some tape!
4) if you can't afford your heat bill reach out to an organization in your community for help. HEAP is a NYS program that will help pay your fuel bill for qualified individuals (http://www.ny.gov/services/apply-heating-and-cooling-assistance-heap). If you are at risk of having your electricity being shutoff you should also be able to reach out to NYS Department of Social Services for emergency assistance (New York state Temporary Assistance hotline at 1-800-342-3009). Another very helpful organization for individuals and families that are in need is Community Action Partnership, can be located by county (https://www.communityactionpartnership.com/locations.html).
If you need drinking water or a place to stay warm, please feel free to contact us & we will try to find you some help.
Be Safe & Stay WARM!