Tips before turning on your furnace - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Tips before turning on your furnace

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-  As fall temperatures arrive, more homeowners are turning on their furnace or space heater for the first time, but there are safety steps to take before flipping the switch.

Heating system fires are the second leading cause of home fires in the fall and winter, according to the American Red Cross.

"It's a good idea to check them before the heating season starts that way if there's anything that's wrong, anything that needs to be adjusted or replaced, that's the safer way to go into the season," said JD McGregor, owner of McGregor's Heating and Cooling.

He said any gas appliances should be checked regularly.

"This one in particular, it needs to be vacuumed out and we'll vacuum that out but they get dirty and they need to be cleaned, it's just a safety issue," McGregor said. 

He said fires during this time of year is common especially if the furnace has not been well- maintained. Another part of the maintenance is making sure nothing is cracked or broken.

"If they get a crack in them, you can get carbon monoxide in the home and people die from that so you have to make sure that's not the case," McGregor said.

Homeowners should be sure to change their filters about every 3 months.

"You can have a mouse make a nest in here, I mean I've seen that," McGregor said. "I've seen snakes and all kinds of animals, I've even seen cats."

McGregor said it's not as big a problem if something gets in the ductwork of the furnace. The real problem occurs if it gets near the flame because it can ignite.

"If you get a crack in any of this stuff, it can let gas out in the wrong place and then it actually blows a little flame in there," he said.

But McGregor advises homeowners to not inspect the furnace themselves but to call a licensed technician.

"On a gas appliance, it really needs to be someone who knows the equipment because a homeowner is not going to know what to look for," he said. 

It's important homeowners keep the area around their furnace clean and to keep anything flammable away from the vent pipe.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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