Home Heating Safety

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Cold snaps keep popping up throughout East Tennessee this Fall,
and when the cold weather hits, it's important to make sure you're taking the right steps to safely heat your home.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel joins us with some tips.

It's cold out here, and for those of you who plan to turn up the heat, there are some things to need to know first.

"Carelessness. Just neglecting obvious things we take for granted everyday," Darrell Whitaker from the Knoxville Fire Department said.

It's the number on cause of house fires in the winter. So while, furnaces, chimneys and heaters can be your best friend this time of year, they can also become your worst enemy.

"With our modern appliances, our modern conveniences, we think that everything's going to be okay. The refrigerator works everyday, everything else works everyday, why not my furnace?" Whitaker said.

That's why it's important to check things out before it's too late.

"There's kerosene in chimneys that you want to get rid of and over time there's mortar around chimneys that can deteriorate that can cause a heat loss and maybe cause an attic fire," Whitaker said.

This homeowner hired a chimney sweep to check things out in his 40-year-old home before the cold weather, and he's happy he did.

"There's damage on top... they said they could repair that, the flue didn't open or close all the way, they repaired all that for us," homeowner Jeff Ellis said.

If you're using kerosene or space heaters, use them in ventilated areas and three feet from combustible items. When you're using kerosene, fill the tank outside and only use it during the daylight hours. The best advice: just use common sense.

"Everybody's innocent of being negligent. It happens to a lot of people they just don't think before they do things," Whitaker said.

A few things you do need to think about: smoke alarms. Make sure you check them monthly and change the batteries once a year and sit down with your family and plan two escape routes. Also, agree on a meeting place outside of the home.

Whitaker says the most common call they're getting at the fire department right now is cooking fires. He says instead of watching what you eat, you should watch what you heat. Don't lay a bag of groceries on the stove when you're in just in from the store.