Heater safety during winter weather

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A recent home fire has many starting to become more cautious about safety.

"Warming our house involves fire," said Mike Page, Grand Junction Fire Dept. PIO, "so we have to be real careful and keep those things that are hot away from things that'll burn."

During the summer months, papers, old clothing, debris and more can easily slip under those heaters, making a fire hazard more prominent. But checking now, while the weather is still bearable, can save time and save lives.

"If people are aware and just check around the furnace or the boiler when they start it up," said Rob Peckham of Haining Plumbing & Heating, "accidents are less likely to happen."

Peckham also said it's crucial to have heaters checked out by a professional at least once per year to avoid any problems, whether that be overheating or freezing up.

Portable space heaters have become a huge commodity, but the dangers still exist especially when one forgets they are on.

"People [will be] knitting in the chair, and they have to get up and answer the phone and set the knitting down in front of the portable heater, and you can imagine what happens next," said Page.

And people need to be careful not to overlook the effects of carbon monoxide.

"It's real critical," said Peckham, "if the burners get dirty or the vents get plugged, you can spill carbon monoxide."

Overall, officials recommend the following when it comes to heating safety:
1. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.
2. Have a three-foot "kid-free zone."
3. Never use your oven to heat your home.
4. Turn portable heaters off when going to bed.
5. Always use the right kind of fuel for fuel burning space heaters.
6. Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks.
7. Test smoke alarms monthly.

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