ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Temperatures continue to plummet Wednesday morning, about ten degrees below freezing. But before you light up your fireplace, we have some safety tips that could help protect your home from an accidental blaze.
If you don't have central heating, most likely you have a space heater in a couple of rooms. The first thing you should do is to make sure the unit is functioning properly. The older the unit, the more dangerous it can become due to aged wiring. If it is extremely outdated, replace it.
Keep 3 feet worth of space around the unit, don't use extension cords, plug it in straight into the wall and turn them off before you go to bed or leave your home.
According to The National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are the cause of over 19,000 home fires in the U.S. and over 550 million in direct property damage.
Albany fire inspector Laurence Cargile says some residents substitute ovens for heaters. He says this could set you up for a disaster.
"I grew up with family members who still heated up their home with the oven, leaving the oven on and leaving the door open. That's incredibly dangerous and not efficient at all," Cargile said. "It an actually short out the unit, the elements in there and cause an electrical fire."
NFPA says 50% of heating fires happen during the colder months, so its important to always check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly.
If you have a fireplace, make sure its cleaned out to avoid chemicals becoming trapped your home. Also, make the wood you're using is meant for fireplace use.