Home Heating Tips

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October is National Fire Safety Month, and with a quick cold front headed this way this weekend, many of you may kick on the heat. However, before you do we have some home safety tips.

In a recent survey, the International Association of Firefighters found that most Americans have a basic understanding of fire safety. However, the study reveals 19 million Americans have never read the instructions on their fire extinguisher. Needless to say, there's a lot more we can be doing to prevent fires, and it starts in your home.

"If you treat fire with respect and common sense, you probably won't have a fire in your house," Captain Lloyd Smith said.

And with this weekend's expected cold snap, protecting your home, and your family, from fire should be top priority.

"There are quite a few that start from careless use of extension cords and space heaters," Smith said.

Most of you might kick on the heat, but make sure you keep anything combustible at least three feet away from heaters.

"We see numerous fires throughout the city every winter because of that, and it's sad to say an occasional fire death coming from that," Smith said.

Reduce your risk by taking preventative measures.

"We urge people to kick them on, that way, they know if they will have a problem," said Tim Tullock from At Your Service.

The main problem service technician's see is a busted heat exchanger.

"That just ends up introducing carbon monoxide into the house, so that's something that needs to be checked annually," Tullock said.

If you'd rather warm up by an open flame, don't forget to open the damper. And when it's out:

"Be sure you put the ashes is a non-combustible container like a metal bucket and make sure you place them on a non-combustible surface so they can't be blown over or knocked over," Smith said.

Even a day or two later, they can still catch fire if they're in a cardboard box, and if you have an HVAC system, make sure a service professional checks and cleans the heat exchanger, burner tubes and checks gas pressures. And then all that's left to do:

"Open the vents, make sure you've got a clean filter, and fire it up," Tullock said.

Fire safety officers also recommend installing a smoke detector, and if you use gas heat, a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the house. In fact, the fire prevention program offers free detectors.

For more information, you can call 215-2283 or 215-2000.