It's Time to Winterize and Fire Proof Your Home - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/5/03

It's Time to Winterize and Fire Proof Your Home

Fire officials warn tonight that now is the time of year when the number of house fires increase. That's because we're heating our homes by all types of methods like fireplaces. The Lubbock Fire Department advises everyone to take some time to be sure each device in your home is fire proof - and ready for winter.

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Around this time last year, several homes suffered thousands of dollars in damage resulting from heating devices. "We have a lot of start up fires this time of year," says Garrett Nelson with the Lubbock Fire Marshall's office.

It's once again time to start thinking about ways to prevent this from happening to you. "The homeowner needs to be aware of two things safety and efficiency," says Ron Chambless with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

Chambless adds that home owners should start by checking their furnace, the main source of heat. "Make sure it's kept clean, don't store your mops with your heater. Any type of flammables. That's something that they could do," says Chambless.

Also make sure flames burn a solid blue color, without any white tips. But he says to checking the gas flow through the furnace and other technicalities should be left to a professional. "We also need to check the burner in ignition systems to make sure they're operating properly," says Chambless.

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Another precaution you can do yourself is make sure the air filter in your house is clean. They're relatively inexpensive and should be changed often. "You know every 30 to 60 days I need to change that filter period. Especially if you have air conditioning with the gas." It's also a good idea to make sure furnace vents are connected and not damaged because dangerous gases can escape and enter your home.

Another popular heating device, the space heater. It's called that for a reason, it needs space to operate safely. Leave at least three feet of empty space around the heater. "I think one of the things to do is get it off the floor so it's not sitting down where something can easily be dropped on it, some sort of a cabinet or something," says Nelson.

Perhaps the greatest life saving device for you and your loved ones, the smoke detector. Change the battery every six months or every time you reset your clocks during daylight savings. Keep chimneys swept and fireplaces properly covered and never left unattended.

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