Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Winter Check-Up Protects Homes

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Winter Check-Up Protects Homes

Article excerpt

THE Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a mild winter in most of the country, yet many Australians can still expect a fair serve of cold and blustery days, causing wear and tear on their homes, as well as fire hazards.

"Magazines are filled with health tips for beating the winter blues, but a winter health check on your home is just as important for protecting your investment and ensuring your family's safety," Raine & Horne chairman/CEO Angus Raine said.

Even though temperatures are forecast to be warmer this winter in the southern part of Australia, if you have a fireplace in your home, chances are you will want to enjoy a roaring fire.

"If you're using a wood fire, then you should arrange to have the chimney swept at least once a year to ensure the chimney is not blocked and there is no soot build-up," principal of the Sydney Chimney Sweep Company Gerard Horton said.

"For gas fires, make sure the flue outlet is not blocked or obstructed as this can prevent dangerous carbon monoxide from escaping your home."

Mr Horton said depending on your location, maintenance by a professional chimney sweep could cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

"This is often money well spent, as the last thing you want is a visit from the Fire Brigade responding to a fireplace that doesn't work properly," Mr Horton said.

No matter what type of heating you use, now is the time to check that smoke alarms are in good working order, according to Jeremy Batten from Smoke Alarm Testing Services (SATS).

"The smoke alarms in many new homes are wired into the mains electricity; however, this doesn't exempt them from the need for regular checkups, while their backup batteries also need to be regularly replaced," Mr Batten said.

The majority of older homes in Australia have battery-operated devices, he said. …

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