Home Heating Tips

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We're in for another cold night, so most of you are probably cranking up your heater tonight. When you do that, there are some things to keep in mind to keep you and your family safe.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has some tips.

Lots of people buy space heaters to heat certain rooms of their homes, but if used improperly, they can be dangerous, and those pretty decorations you have up can also be a hazard. It's just important to not take them for granted.

With your heaters cranked up, you need to take special caution, especially this time of year when your home is decked out for the holiday's

"We want to use extra caution because those decorations aren't there year round, so we might take them for granted they're going to operate properly," Knoxville Fire Chief Darrell Whitaker said.

Your Christmas tree looks pretty in your home, but it should never be left on when you're not there or standing next to your fireplace.

"You don't want to leave the house and leave your Christmas tree on because, especially a real Christmas tree there's always danger the tree is dry," Whitaker said.

Another danger: Festive candles that can spark a fire when sitting too close to your tree.

"Most of our fires occur when someone has left something unattended, and they've gone thinking they're gone for a short period of time," Whitaker said

And that includes space heaters. A popular item this time of year should only be used to heat single rooms, not your entire home.

"That's not what they're made for. They're going to be working way too hard which is going to just increase the risk of something happening," Lowe's operations manager Rick Pope said.

You also increase your risk by placing it on a flammable surface or using extension chords.

"You don't want to put it right up against curtains or anything flammable like that, you want to move it away from combustible surfaces," Pope said.

Three feet is a safe distance, and if you're using a kerosene heater, make sure to crack open a window.

"You are burning a fossil fuel, kerosene, putting out carbon monoxide, you don't want to trap that in your room because it's the silent killer," Pope said.

And your best bet is to turn that space heater off when you leave your home.

Chief Whittaker says when you're buying a heating appliance check for a safety sticker to make sure it has been properly tested.
It's also very important to make sure your smoke detector is working in your home.
And if you use gas heat, a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the house is another safe idea.