Winter is that time of year when home fires are the most likely. It makes sense, too, when you consider how much more time we spend indoors. We also light more candles, use our fireplaces more, and consume more electricity, too.

All of which means an added degree of caution is needed to help protect your home and family. Here are several ways to accomplish that dual goal:

• Read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a space heater. Also, ensure that the heater has been approved by a certified testing organization like UL (Underwriters Laboratory).

• Keep space heaters at least three feet away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs.

• Don’t use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised. Children may stick their fingers or other objects through the protective guards, causing shock or burns.

• Look for dark, charred, or frayed spots on electric cords, and don’t place any cords under carpeting.

• Go around your home and place your hand over sockets and outlets. If any feel hot to you, you need to get them replaced.

• Replace worn or old heating pads and electric blankets.

• Never fold electric blankets while they’re in use. Folded or tucked-in blankets can overheat and cause a fire.

• Candles set a peaceful and relaxing mood…sometimes so much so that they are forgotten or knocked over unwittingly. So, light candles only when you’re around to watch them and blow them out before leaving the room, especially if small children or pets are in the vicinity.

• Your wood fireplace produces creosote, a substance capable of igniting. That’s why it’s so important to have your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year if you use it frequently.

If you’re concerned about electrical safety, no matter what time of year it might be, contact Burton today to request a whole-house electrical and wiring inspection. Think of it as preventive maintenance and a great way to make your home a safer living environment.