Preventing Heater Fire Hazards

Casper, Wyoming - With this first major snow and dropping temperatures across the state, those heaters will be turning on. But before you flip that switch, be sure your house is ready.

If you haven't winterized your heating system, then you could be playing with fire. It's not time for spring cleaning when the temperatures dip into the 30's and who knows what can be lurking in your system.

“They get hot. So you can get up to 160, 170 degrees right there. So you gotta be careful on any kind of combustibles going in,” said Rod Poppe, a heating & air professional with CK Mechanical.

Here's a tip that's often forgotten. Cleaning the baseboards where the heat comes from could drastically reduce the potential of fires starting in the home.

“Both your hot water and your electric baseboard have got fans in them. And it's important that those stay clean so the air flows through those. Because air actually does flow through them,” said Poppe. “Anything like dog hair, pet hair, toys, papers, that type of thing it can get hot and be a fire hazard.”

Poppy says the best way to clean the baseboards is with a good ol' fashion vacuum cleaner and a corner attachment. But That's not the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to dust build up.

“Air filters should be changed once a month, I don't care what the label says, but they should be changed once a month. That what keeps air going through your forced air furnace,” said Poppe.

Don't forget to remove things like plastics, papers or cloth before vacuuming the dust and dirt out. Fire officials say furniture can be another hazard.

“Make sure it is away three feet in all directions from anything that might be flammable. we're talking clothes, piles of paper, and yea your children too,” said Dane Andersen with the Casper Fire Department.

Though the temperatures across the state are dropping for the season, you might want to get going on winterizing your home before it’s too late. Because fires happen when you least expect it.