Time of year to check home heating to keep your family safe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Time of year to check home heating to keep your family safe

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Shannon Rasmussen has been inspecting furnaces for 10 years. He knows what to look for when it comes to keeping a furnace clean.

"A homeowner is just probably not going to realize if something's wrong, you know, where a professional's going to recognize something out of the ordinary," said Rasmussen, who works for Novak Heating and Air Conditioning.

Firefighters say a dirty furnace can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Before that happens, your furnace could just stop working if you don't maintain it.

"If a furnace is just dirty, you could have poor ignitions, dirty filters that could cause sensors to allow your furnace to overheat and shutdown," said Rasmussen.

Eastern Iowa Fire Departments respond to more fires in winter months because of heating problems. That's why they recommend having a professional check not just your furnace, but your fireplace, too.

"They'll check to make sure the exhaust is working properly so that you don't have a build-up of carbon monoxide in the home," said Greg Buelow, Public Information Officer for the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. "If you have a crack in the flue, or something like that, you're probably not going to know."

Homeowners can do some maintenance themselves, like changing a dirty filter, but when it comes to the bigger tasks professionals know city codes which keeps them and you safe.

"Codes are built for a reason," said Buelow. "Safety is the paramount reason."

Firefighters also want to remind you to keep three feat of space clear around your space heaters. If you use a kerosene heater, check your city code because they're banned in some Eastern Iowa cities.

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