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San Diego Spotlight

Stay Warm at Home Safely by Following These Tips

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Remains of a heater fire. Courtesy of Southsumterfire.org

As our clocks fall back one hour to Pacific Standard Time, it is getting darker earlier and colder. Is your home furnace or heater ready to operate safely? More than 65,000 homes fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. Do the following to make sure your home is not one of those:

Space heaters

  • Never use a Bar-B-Q or other heating source, which was not designed for that purpose
  • Plug space heater directly into the wall, never use an extension cord or power strip which could overheat or be frayed
  • Place it at least three feet from anything which can burn, and on a level, flat surface so it does not tip over
  • Keep it away high traffic areas where it could become a tripping hazard
  • Never leave space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving the room
  • Do not let children or animals play around it
  • Never use them to warm a bed, dry clothing, cook food or thaw pipes
  • Have smoke alarms in all bedrooms and on each floor of your house which are tested regularly

Gas Furnaces

If not properly maintained, gas furnaces can produce carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless and colorless gas, which can cause flu-like symptoms, disorientation, and even death. To avoid CO issues:

  • Have your furnace checked and cleaned annually (See SDG&E’s free service)
  • Install a CO alarm in your home
  • Change your furnace filter regularly
  • Keep area around your furnace clean and unobstructed, especially anything combustible
  • Never operate furnace without front panel properly in place