Clean Your Chimney! Last year we put in a coal stove to supplement the furnace and offset the fuel oil costs. It has nearly paid for itself in savings and the heat in the house is much steadier. But... yesterday and last night, the carbon monoxide alarm went off. Thanks the good Lord it did. Carbon Monoxide is odorless and invisible, but deadly and is released when fossil fuels are burned. Because we were new stove owners, cleaning the chimney just didn't occur to us. We didn't have a buildup of creosote, like you get with a wood stove, but Steve found 4 nested and very dead birds in there, plugging it up. It was an easy fix, but could have been deadly, had it not been for that alarm.
If you don't have one, I can't recommend getting one enough. And if you have smoke detectors, and you should have several, January is a great time to change the batteries. Really, don't put it off.
Here's a layout I did yesterday. I never would have thought I would be a gizmo junkie. Kitchen gadgets- absolutely! Pampered Chef parties are my idea of a happenin' Friday night! But electronic gizmos? I think the 3hrs a day I spend in the car did it to me. I listen to books on mp3 and cd and all kinds of music. You may think I've lost my mind if you happen to drive by and see me signing and or singing, but really, I'm just hooked up and plugged in!