Ready For the Snow? Staying Warm and Staying Safe!

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The country saw an extremely warm autumn with record breaking temperatures in the north east. New York City residents were basking in 70 degree weather just a few weeks from Christmas. With home heating bills a constant concern for so many people, it was a relief not to have to crank up the thermostat. Cold temperatures and a snow storm are about to hit the New York metropolitan area, which means many home owners had to turn up the heat for the first time in months. Whether you use oil or gas heat, it is important to take precautions to eliminate the risk of damage to your property, or injury and illness to your family.

A family in Garden City, NY knows this all too well after six people were taken to the hospital due to high levels of carbon monoxide in the home. Two teenage girls had passed out after the homeowner turned on his furnace for the first time this season. Although there was a carbon monoxide detector in the house, it never went off as it was blocked by a stack of papers. Luckily, everyone in the house is expected to recover but their experience is a cautionary tale that others should pay attention to.

Since your furnace hasn’t been used in seven to eight months, many times household items tend to get placed on or near your unit. Clear everything away from the area to avoid sparking a fire. Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working at all times and free from any obstructions. Also, test the furnace out before the extremely cold weather hits. Turning on the unit for the first time may cause a strong burning smell, likely caused by the dirt and dust that has accumulated during the year. However, if the smell does not subside and the furnace sounds like it is struggling to work, contact a professional immediately. Many times problems with ventilation, air filters and other essential parts can be detected with an annual cleaning of your system.

Maintenance on a heating system may be difficult for some residents who rent and are reliant on landlords to make sure everything is working in a safe and proper manner. In some cases, tenants are either faced with living with defective equipment or turning to alternative heating methods, both of which can lead to gas leaks, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

With the winter season comes a lot more time spent indoors and a responsibility to keep everyone safe and warm. Malfunctioning or defective equipment can bring preventable danger to you and your loved ones. If you have suffered an illness or there has been damage to your home because the necessary precautions were not taken regarding your heating system, speak to an experienced attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help you recover the compensation you deserve.