Before you turn on your furnace, read this - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Before you turn on your furnace, read this

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Even if eastern Iowa's first frost doesn't come Tuesday night, it's just around the corner, and fire agencies are reminding citizens to be particularly aware of the safety issues surrounding the upcoming heating season. 

October 4 - 10 is National Fire Prevention Week. Appliances such as space heaters, furnaces, wood‑burning stoves, and gas fireplaces can pose not only fire hazards, but carbon monoxide issues as well. 

SPACE HEATERS:   According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters account for one‑third of all heating‑related fires.  Being safe with space heaters begins at the time of purchase.  Be sure to choose a unit that has been tested and marked by an independent laboratory such as Underwriter's Laboratory (UL).  While the unit is in use, keep it on the floor and away from combustible materials such as upholstered furniture, bedding, clothing, and paper products.  In addition, a space heater should never be left unattended while running, and to avoid being accidentally knocked over, the unit should always be kept away from small children and pets.

FURNACES:  Inspect older gas furnaces at the beginning of the season to make sure that pipes and connections are not compromised creating potential carbon monoxide leaks.  Also be sure that the flame within the unit is burning bright blue.  If not, have it adjusted by a professional. Install a new furnace filter at the beginning of the heating season, and replace it every three months or as necessary. 

WOOD‑BURNING STOVES/FIREPLACES:        Wood‑burning stoves and fireplaces account for the largest number of heating‑related fires.  Use only dry, seasoned wood in these units to avoid creosote buildup.  Creosote is an oily substance that easily catches fire and accounts for most chimney fires.  Regular chimney cleanings will also minimize creosote buildup.  Do not use flammable liquids or artificial logs in wood‑burning stoves and fireplaces. 

GAS FIREPLACES:  Always have a fire screen in front of any fireplace, even if it has glass doors.  The temperature of the glass doors can exceed 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and this presents an extremely dangerous hazard to small children - little hands are easily burned.  In case of any kind of malfunction, know where to turn off the gas.

CARBON MONOXIDE SAFETY: Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that when undetected can have deadly consequences.  Carbon monoxide detectors can save lives.  As of October 1, 2008, newly‑enacted legislation will require most newly‑constructed, multi‑occupant residential buildings that contain fuel‑burning appliances have carbon monoxide detectors installed.  Existing structures will have until 2010 to comply with the new regulations.  While this legislation does not require detectors be installed into single‑family dwellings, it is strongly recommended that homeowners consider investing in one of these potentially lifesaving devices. 

 

Online Producer: Maria Magner

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